So my finger puppet mascot ... Stinky [and I] arrived finally at the Ice Cave Trail. I did this trail last year with my neighbors. The condition of the trail at that time was something I'd call very difficult. It was snow and ice covered and very slippery.
I figured it would not be easy for me. However, I was pretty surprised. The trail was not compacted with snow and ice. In spots it was slippery but it was very easy to negotiate around each bluff.
The ice caves were there. I'm sure they had been spectacular during our subzero weather. This is the result of two major melting events.
Since I have access to an incredible ice cave near home, I merely glanced at these as I passed them.
I was able to walk out near one portion of the trail and glance down on the river.
Sometimes funny things occur on the trail. I was coming up past a curve around a dry run I thought I saw something quite odd.
I went on and soon I came around another bend in the forest and saw something green hanging in the tree. A doggy coat.
I looked at it and all I could think of was to keep my eyes open for a pant-less bearded man and a Nekked Dog.
I stopped at a point where I could see out over the valley and down towards the river.
I thought it would be fun to set up my pocket camera on a stump and put it on time lapse.
After doing that I reached in my pocket to take out my finger puppet mascot.
In a panic I tore apart my backpack, turned out my pockets and then did it again.
Sure I could buy another one, but somehow that would not be right. I had intended on this particular mascot to carry me through this Challenge.
I simply needed Stinky.
And then I did something I thought I'd never do. I shouldered my stuff and hiked/jogged back the way I'd come. Past the doggy coat, the pants, the ice caves, the overlooks, and nearly all the way back to marker #5. The further I went the more I berated myself for back tracking.
Imagine my relief when I saw....
I scooped him up and held him tightly.
Two stinkers on the trail.
And since there was only one way back out towards the car, I resumed my hike racing back to the place I'd discovered I'd lost him.
At this point I thought I'd just merely be happy to finish the trail and get home.
I knew I was getting towards the end of the trail so I started amusing myself by interpreting the signs on the trees.
Watch for Bucking Horse.
I crossed Bridge 15 again and decided to take the "Hikers Only" trail along the river.
Remember I said in the previous post that I'd taken a shot down towards Camp "I"?
Here is a shot from Camp "I" towards the bluff I had been on.
And a view of the river.
We made it.
The hike was fun and incredible. I made fairly good time except for those times I back tracked. I even feel good two days later.
Maybe I am in a little better shape than I thought I was?
This one supposedly was 6.4 miles. The MapMyHike app lost me a few times in the deep woods and the valley, but that is okay.
I've already plotted out the next 3 hikes.
On a few of my hikes I will need someone to drive there with me and let me park my car at the end of the trail I plan to do.
I'm still working on that.
I'm also cleaning up a large dog crate to put in the back of the Subaru. I think Dixie would enjoy this as well as I do.