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Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Senior Hiking #354

61° Sunny
by Betsy

May 24, 2010…Chimney Rock…tr # 256 …hike # 354

For those of you who are waiting with bated breath to hear about the pier mystery outcome, I have good news. I contacted several people who I thought would know but just one came thru. I knew he would know. Here is what he sent me:

“Smile, Betsy and Jim…you were on Candid – or rather US Navy Camera! The webcam that monitors the dock that you visited is between Evans Landing and Maiden Rock. I finally had a chance to visit with Jim Brady, Navigable Waters Specialist, with the Dept. of Lands. The installation you guys came across is part of the US Navy Acoustic Research facility headquartered in Bayview. It may be part of the anchoring system for one of the Navy barges that is usually off shore near this spot.

It’s truly a mystery about why the site is so unprotected and not even identified with signs, fencing, etc. I can only guess that the Dept. of Defense figures that we don’t represent a terrorist threat to national security. However, they probably have your picture! Mystery solved…thanks for sharing it with me”.

So back to current business. Hike day dawned quite nicely with sunshine albeit with predictions of thunder storms in the afternoon…we took the chance and headed up country for the first hike in our much loved Selkirk Mountains. With snowfall this year being half of what it normally is, we were able get to the top of the road which leads to the trailhead before hitting impassable snow. Normally snow would stop us at Zuni Creek, about a 1 mile long walk to the trailhead. Today it would be just about ¼ mile. Nice. The Fault Lake and Chimney Rock trails are always the first ones to get to in the spring.

Jim carried the snowshoes, and I wore my snow boots just in case but we never needed the snowshoes. We were able to walk on top of the snow all the way with minimal sinking of only an inch or so. The creeks and all the runoff were easily crossed without incident with only one troublesome one. But we did it without falling in and now, having the most difficult crossing behind us, we plodded on till we were again stopped in our tracks by the wild and roaring Chimney Creek. There was just no way across that one. Plan B.

There were plenty of moose tracks and the poop that goes along with them…I spotted one of those huge grey winter ticks laying in the trail…it most likely fell off a moose. Gosh, they are ugly. I thought about poking it but knowing it was full of blood, I changed my mind. Took pics of it instead. Speaking of ticks, that we ventured thru tick infested brush at the height of tick season, I was pleasantly surprised that we found nary a tick on either one of us.

Chimney Creek may have stopped us but, going off trail tempted us upward…and at about half way Jim stopped short and motioned to me that he had just seen ‘something furry with a long tail’ up ahead, as in a bobcat! Omigosh, I wanted out of there NOW! We went on a bit further till we were finally blocked by overgrown alder, no longer covered with heavy snow. Thank you, Lord.

Descending was tough on my bad left knee today, so much so that when we stopped for lunch, I dug out my brace and put it on…I wish I had brought the second one to put on over it. It hurt all the way down, and I remembered some advice given to me by my cousin, Coree…also a hike report follower, who said that ice would do the trick. I had no ice but there was plenty of snow and when we got to the truck, I filled my plastic sandwich baggie with it and kept it on my knee the whole way home. Did it help? I don’t know…maybe. There are over 3100 miles of hiking on these knees! Temperatures cooled down considerably, so much so, that for the trek down I dug out my jacket.

Just as we were leaving, a truck pulled up to the trailhead…hmmm, we've never seen a soul, especially on a Monday and at this time of year. The two said they were on their way up the mountain to pack out a bear one of them had shot within the last few days. Of course they would have to gut it and cut it up to get the 250 pound bear out. It sounds like a lot of work to me. Who eats bear anyway??? We saw a moose running on the road on the way out but by the time I got the camera out, the small cow was up the hill.

It is still so hard to drive in the driveway and not see Rosie sitting in her window waiting for us to come home from our hike. I miss her so much.

Left home 9:30
Started up 10:40
Off trail 1:00-1:25
Turned around 1:25
Started down 1:35
Got to truck 3:10
Total miles hiked 8 miles
Total hiking time 4 hours, 30 minutes

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