So yesterday, not being the religious types, we decided to take advantage of the sunny, mild weather to grill out for lunch and again for dinner, and in between the two, go for a hike. We picked a nice, short, easy-sounding one out of our trusty book, figuring it would be a good way to ease into hiking season. The hike was described as 1.5 miles each way, along a lovely creek with minimal elevation gain. (Full photo set here.)
And it was as described, truly it was, and nice and easy other than some icy slush and mud that made parts of the trail very slippery. So yeah, easy, except that when we got to the point where the book suggested that we turn around, we noticed that the trail continued and decided that we would continue with it.
The hike itself wouldn't have been that hard, really, though it did climb a couple hundred feet as we followed it up and around the mountain, except that it was in the middle of a colossal snow melt, and half the trail was slippery, squishy mud while the other half was slippery, icy slush. And, the trail was narrow with a steep drop-off, making every slip a little terrifying.
Still, we followed it for about a mile, and when we passed some people heading back down the trail, we asked them how much further it was to the top, and they assured us that it was really close and the view of the snow-capped mountains was worth it, so we continued on. Another half-mile or so and we passed another couple heading the opposite direction, and asked them the same question.
"Oh," they said. "Well, the trail is a 12-mile loop, and it has some great views. We've been walking for a couple of hours. If you keep going for another half-hour or so, you should get to some better views."
Which, you know. Fine, if you'd PLANNED on doing a 12-mile mountain loop instead of a flat three-mile out-and-back, you know? So we pressed on for a little while longer, skidding on the ice in our sneakers, came to a little clearing on the ledge where we had a vague view of the mountains through some trees, called it a day, and turned around.
Climbing DOWN some of those steep passes was scary! With all that ice and slippery mud, wearing the totally wrong shoes for the conditions, we were both relieved when we got back down to the flat, creekside part of the trail. Only the dog had seemed unconcerned, and in fact made things a little more dangerous by pulling on her leash while we tried not to slide right off the side of the mountain.
Still, the hike was lovely and definitely good exercise, and the weather was great and once we were off the mountain and pretty sure we weren't going to die, we were glad we'd gone.
However, I think we'll be waiting a couple weeks for the snow to melt and the ground to harden before we head out on our next hike.
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