Tuesday, September 14, 2021

Sharing the trail

 L and I drove optimistically to the trailhead. I hadn't seen her in two years, courtesy of Covid, so we were chatting away as we approached the end of the rough road. We had already passed a few cars parked inexplicably along the side of the road, and a tent parked so close that our tires came within inches of where someone's sleeping head would be. All of this should have clued us in, but we still gasped in horror as the parking lot came into view.

Generally, this remote trailhead on a busy day would have about four cars. Today, at least twenty were packed in there. We exchanged looks of disbelief. It didn't look like my truck would fit, but we were locals, we could do it! Leaving the horse trailer plenty of room to get out, I backed precariously to a spot that probably was not really a spot, and we began our day hike.

The first hiker we encountered was headed out, bearing an external frame pack and a scowl. He ignored our greeting. Clearly he was not having a good day. We then saw a hunter (archery season is upon us) and a few backpackers, both headed in and headed out. A couple was doing a 14 mile loop, and there were also some day hikers. Finally I could stand it no longer and asked one group how they had heard about the trail.

"There was an article in the Eugene Register Guard," they said.

Boom, there it was. Write about something in a high circulation format, and people come.

On the positive side, it is always good to see people enjoying the outdoors. Everyone we saw, except for Grouchy Guy, was having a good time. We could see why. The lake was beautiful in the fall, the shrubs turning yellow and red. This is the best time of year in the mountains (it's supposed to snow this weekend).

We debated going further, but decided against it. The day was perfect enough already. When we arrived back at the trailhead, someone with a horse trailer had given up and decided to park in the middle of the lot, effectively causing difficulty to others. The tent was still pitched in the road, the occupants apparently deciding to risk their lives. It was hard to get too mad at all the people. Winter will be here soon, and everyone will go away.

I don't often enjoy day hikes as much as I do backpacking, but this one, even with sharing the trail, was the perfect length and the perfect company. We talked about the date, September 11, and where we were when we heard (L was at these lakes) and how life had changed since then. It was the right place to be on this anniversary.





10 comments:

  1. Hard to believe that your fall is so advanced.
    Interesting that even here, we have been asking the question, "Where were you on Sept 11?"

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    1. We are pretty far north and have a short fall. And you are heading to summer!

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  2. Snow this weekend? wow. My 1st hunt opens Oct 2nd, 2 years ago we got rained on and snowed on but then it turned sunny and perfect. Last year it was in the 80's.

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    1. Hunting season is always so challenging for me. So many people everywhere! Not sure what it will be like this year. It's already frosting.

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  3. Yep...blame the "press," AND social media. I remember a long time ago (before the internet and ATVs) when outdoor type magazines outed Moab. Twas a pleasant little place back then...

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  4. Your autumn colours are pretty! I love the colours and the fresh crisp air when hiking at this time of year. Its the same here with not so busy trails now being busy even on weekdays.

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  5. Sorry your trail was outed, but on the plus side it is nice to see people out enjoying nature and getting exercise. At least that's what I tell myself when I start getting annoyed by all the hikers...

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    1. I try to tell myself that too. Sometimes it helps!

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