Friday, April 8, 2016

Transitioning Into Hiking

After we got off the river, loaded up on ice cream and unloaded our gear at the cabin we were staying, we had time and energy to do a short hike. The MIL and littlest girl stayed home for a round of napping and the rest of us drove past some of the well marked hiking trail heads which were packed full of people on spring break. We stopped at an unmarked place along the road though there is now a pull off area instead of the ditch we used to park in, right before the road plunges through a fault in the cliff line to the valley below.

We were looking for an area of this beautiful wilderness to ourselves and we were rewarded when a short hike later we emerged along a knife ridge to where it ends in a cliff and had a 300+ degree view of the world around us. It is a beautiful spot and we lounged in the sunlight for quite awhile before starting back. My oldest asked why we don't tell people the name of this place and we were just in the process of telling her how we liked to keep it secret so it doesn't get overrun like all the other trails were at this time when loh and behold, I looked up to see another hiked standing just down the trail. He had seen our car in the pullout and stopped to see what there was to see. How I wished it was still just a ditch and not a pullout.

With an aging MIL and a three year old wanting to do a hike the next morning, we decided to do a short two mile hike along the river figuring that it would be early enough it wouldn't be crowded yet. Although we saw a couple smoldering fires right along the trail, we didn't see any people. I've been coming to this place for over 35 years and it has gone from a wilderness where you never saw people to one where people are everywhere to the point where you now see trash and evidence of man everywhere. At the smoldering fire, there was broken glass everywhere which we picked up to pack out and flung the now charred rocks of the fire ring into the river below. When we left, there was no evidence that anyone had been there. I wish the previous people at that place and the two other fire rings we also destroyed had felt the need to do the same.

When we got to the valley we were heading for 2 miles down the trail, we took some photos of the mineral stained bluff that ring it. See the second photo of this post. We drove back to where we had started to pick up the other vehicle and saw the elk herd had come out of the woods for their morning breakfast so I took the above photo of them. We dropped our youngest daughter and MIL off at the cabin and after a quick bite to eat, drove over to Cave Mountain for a longer hike for those of us more physically able. Below is a sign on top of Cave Mountain at the entrance to an old cemetery that I thought looked kind of foreboding against the overcast skies.


Bob said...

Beautiful photos and an interesting narrative. Thanks for "helping out" the careless ones before you and doing your part to preserve the natural beauty of that area.

sage said...

It appears to be a wonderful area--I like the foreboding look of the cemetery sign.

Ed said...

Bob - Thank you! I might consider it useless to do if the traffic was like this all year long but it is only for the week of spring break and then it disappears. The rest of the year I have the park to myself, or so it seems, so I try to keep it looking like how I would want to see it.

Sage - I thought so too about the sign. Although I didn't take pictures, the cemetery has numerous 'fresh' looking graves but the dates on them were 50 years old. I'm guessing local custom dictates that fresh earth keeps getting mounded over the grave to make others take a second look. I hadn't seen that before.

Kelly said...

Wonderful photos - all of them!

Interesting and odd about the fresh dirt on the old graves. I can't imagine why anyone would do that.

From what I understand, the reintroduction of the elk in the area have become a tremendous tourist draw. The population seems to be thriving.

Ed said...

Kelly - I guess I'm never there often enough to see how many people are there for the elk but I do see people pulled over to the side of the road occasionally taking pictures. They also now have an elk center which is part natural museum and part history of the elk introduction. I finally was able to find it open and walk through it this past trip.