Sunday, June 27, 2010

Skookum Flats 6-27-10

Ahhh, summer hiking weather is here again! Well, almost. We were originally going to go up to Noble Knob again, but we most definitely would have run into snow (the nice lady at Wapiti Woolies told us that many people had come back from a disappointing hike at Noble, so we were glad we'd picked an alternate.) The Big Guy has been here before for mountain biking. I accused him of holding out on me because this is such an easy grade and so very pretty, especially this time of year while all the new growth is at its most brilliant green.

Both Otter and Zuli came along, and were quite happy about it. Otter just plain likes to GO, and my Zuzu is the best little hiker-pup in the whole world.

We met a mountain biker who told us that he'd heard Bigfoot near here earlier this year and that this particular area was a "hot spot" for sightings recently. I kept my eyes peeled, but this is the only Bigfoot I saw.

Otter is 11 years old now. It's already been a long time since we've been able to take Sheila with us, and it's hard to think of that time coming for our Buddy, too. He did great today, but did find his limit when we tried a strenuous side trail up to the beautiful falls. We hit an area of fresh dirt, not really muddy, but not very stable, either. Poor Buddy was ahead of me and couldn't get his footing in the dirt. I had a hand on his rump to keep him from sliding back into me (I wasn't all that stable myself, especially with my pack on.) We decided it wasn't a smart idea to keep pushing ahead, so we called it good. I was wondering if I was going to get hit from behind by a sliding Lab, but I turned around to see poor Buddy sitting in the dirt and crying, afraid to come back down. Broke my heart, he did. I stepped back up to him and once I had my hand on his collar, he wasn't afraid anymore and came down with me. I think his hard climbing days are behind him, but he's got some great hikes left in him yet, my sweet, sweet boy.

Here is the best shot we could get of the gorgeous falls. I'd say we were close enough to beautiful, wouldn't you?

Friday, June 11, 2010

Interstate Trekking: Part I

This past week, we headed over the Sun Valley, Idaho for a little vacation. We knew our first full day there was going to be rainy (thanks AccuWeather!) and we decided it wasn't going to stop us from doing what we went there to do.

We headed out on the Titus Lake trail.

The moss was pretty on the trees. It was gray, sure, but not really raining. Yet.

But rain it did. Don't lose that happy, positive attitude!

The trail is still nice, right? Right!

And even though you can't get across the rain-swollen river to finish the hike to the lake, you can surely eat your sammich.

Keep smiling! This is vacation! (no one can tell if you cry in the rain)

Putting the "sun" in Sun Valley.

Interstate Trekking: Part II

Day two, after a long bike ride around the paved trail, the sun broke through in earnest, and we decided to try a local 5-mile trail called Proctor's Loop.

That sucker was deceptively steep. I may or may not have taken off my shirt due to the heat. Oh, stop, I had a sports bra on for goodness sake! Sheesh, you people.

At the top, nearly 8000' feet. It was breezy up there, so shirt on.

Happy Anniversary, hiker-people!

Just to the right of the tree line, you can see the trail down the ridge line. This was my favorite hike of the trip. Don't those mountains look like soft green fabric? They're actually covered with a type of sagebrush that's very aromatic (cloying, really) and not soft at all.

Interstate Trekking: Part III

This hike was in Adam's Gulch. Not that the location means anything to anyone who hasn't been there, but I like to be precise. It started with a brilliant blue surprise. See? On that rock in the middle? A Mountain Bluebird! Not surprised to learn it's the Idaho state bird.

Up, up, up. No one who made trails was ever interested in just going for a long walk. They always had to go UP somewhere. Someday I'm going to be the founder of the Flatlanders Trail Club.

Up here you could see where the wildfires of a few years ago left their mark. And the tops of the Sawtooth Mountains. Which you could see from the bottom of the trail, too, just as I predicted.

A little bridge crossing in the trees. I love trail bridges. No joke.

A Dusky Grouse. I think. I know it's a grouse, but I had to Google for the Dusky part. If anyone knows differently, speak up!

As we traversed the top of this trail, The Big Guy spotted something. He said, "Stop! Do you see it?!" No, of course I didn't see "it." I never see "it" when he does that. He said, "It's about 12 feet from us." Great. Well, it's not a bear, I thought, surely I'd see that. Might be a cougar. They say you never see those coming. A snake? Is it a [swear word] rattlesnake?!? He said, "Keep looking, you'll see it." No. No I won't. This ended the way these exchanges always end. With me exclaiming with complete exasperation, "Just tell me what it is!!! Just point to it!!" Turns out "it" was an elk antler. The smaller of the two I'm modeling in this picture. I spotted the larger of the two. With no silly games at all.

As we came down into the gulch, we started spotting elk bones. The first part was backbones and the pelvis at the base of a sheer boulder. It made me nervous, and I breathed, "Awww, somethin' got killed..." The Big Guy thought that was hilarious (and still keeps repeating it.) Scattered over the next 1/2 mile or so, we saw pretty much the entire skeleton, not fresh enough to warrant a hasty retreat, but not so old that all the connective tissues were deteriorated yet, either. It made the gulch an eerie place for me, and I kept a watchful eye on the ridgelines.