A Shakedown Hike
Continuing with the nautical theme, most boats take a short shakedown cruise before they set off for a major voyage. And so we decided to do the same, to get ready for our 2020 hiking season.
We picked a short trail (8 miles total) which meant lighter packs and less stress on our old knees. And we also picked a location that was within a single gas tank from home, round trip. So there was no need to stop on the way in these COVID19 days. And finally, we picked a hike that is not in a wilderness area, so no need to worry about wilderness permits. Dispersed camping is allowed, and that's what we were doing.*
The drive and hike in was a piece of cake, but we were surprised to see so many cars (about ten) in the trail head parking lot. It turns out that we met three groups of fishermen, four groups of mushroom hunters, and a whole camp of birders in the area. Who knew? One group showed us a nice collections of morels that they had picked that morning.
Still the goal here was to get out, stretch our legs, and make sure that everything worked. My new boots (I'd worn them for twenty miles around town) were just fine. We didn't forget anything important when we packed our gear--although M expressed concern that only one lighter might not be enough. (I had a second one, and she had a box of waterproof matches...redundant redundancy.)
This being spring run-off, the fishing was poor. The water was very high, and the fish were way down deep. And because the area had burned recently, there were many sections of the trail that were less than scenic, and sometimes even positively ashy. So not great.
On the plus side, the water was high, which meant that the cascades were roaring. And despite the early season, there were very few bugs. We'd rate this a 3-4 on the Bugforce scale. Perhaps best of all, we only saw one backpacker on the whole trip, and he started ahead of us, and hiked faster than we did. We never saw him again.
The air was clean, the weather was perfect, and we had the place to ourselves. So great.
Our next trip will be a bit more of an adventure. But this was a great way to get the season started.
We're not disclosing the specific destination on this one, just to keep the visitor count low for the next few weeks. Really.