The original plan had been for the guys to pack up while I was at work on Saturday so we could leave as soon as I finished work, and camp out on Saturday night.
That did not happen.
By the time I got home from the fair (a nine-hour day), I was not in the mood to pack for camping, thus the movies and pizza night.
Sleeping in the forest isn’t always that great, but waking up there is heaven.
Still, we had a good early start. We checked in with the forest rangers and set out on the trail.
Most of the trail looks like this: forest.
The trail is 16 miles long, circumnavigating the lake.
This kept us cool while we walked
This is a manmade lake. During the Depression, the valley was flooded as part of a WPA project. We are told that it was an enormous relief to the people who lost their homes, to get a bit of cash and an opportunity to go elsewhere.
I have never met one of those people, so I don’t know.
The National Forest is wonderful. We have been here every year since we moved to this state, I think. Some years we come a lot, swimming and hiking and camping. There are several trails. We have always started this particular trail from the other end in the past, though, and never gone all the way along it, so we had some surprises.
There were a couple of structures in the lake.
There is another manmade lake in the county to our north which was made on top of a resort. The resort was a big deal in the 1920s, with the only nightclub in the country that was in a cave, and a complete wacko for an owner, and all kinds of interesting things.
There were a couple of luxury hotels built there, and later they disappeared under a beautiful new lake made by the Army Corps of Engineers.
When the lake is low, you can actually see the tops of the buildings. It’s like Atlantis or something.
This lake is not like that. The structures that were covered were not the kind that would last this long. The stuff we saw must have some modern function, but we don’t know what it is.
Sometimes there are steps, leading into the water or up to nowhere right at the water’s edge. Mysteries, only because we don’t know what they are.
It had a small but lovely waterfall. We had no idea it was there until we stepped into the clearing and there it was.
The water splashed down the hill and over the rocks and ended up in a still pool at the bottom.
Someone had set some logs around a fire pit, so it was a perfect place to stop and rest for a bit and enjoy the sound of the rushing water.
We decided to lunch there. Here is a picture of our lunch:.
We tried to continue along the trail after lunch. We walked up along the other side of the waterfall. The path grew smaller and smaller and ended altogether.
Not just petered out into the forest, either. We had been climbing along a rock wall, and found ourselves boxed in against a cliff.
#2 son climbed up onto the wall and suggested I do the same, but I turned back. Hiking does not, to my mind, involve rock climbing. That is a different sport altogether, and one that I know is probably not for me.
Third time’s the charm, we supposed,and started off another way, but it wasn’t any more clearly a path than the others, and after clambering over a couple of waist-high tree trunks, we decided to go back the way we came. We figure we did about half the trail.
And then of course we went back. This trail does not loop. If you get to the end of it, you have to turn around and go back the way you came, unless you have a confederate waiting for you in a car at the other end. We have always started at the opposite end and have never before gotten as far as the waterfall.
We took a lot of pictures of the waterfall. As is so often the case, I wish had more skill with the camera. This new camera of mine doesn’t even have a viewfinder, but just a screen on which for some reason I never feel that I can see anything properly. I just hold the camera out in the general direction of the sight and push the button and hope for the best.
You may be amazed to hear that we ran into a customer of mine as we hiked.
Fortunately, we had been speaking French at the time, and I was wearing sunglasses and a hat, with my hair bundled up underneath the hat, so I simply pretended to be someone else. Some Canadian tourist, perhaps.
I greeted her pleasantly. She had that look on her face, like “Don’t I know you?” but I ignored it.
#2 son says she will go into the store tomorrow and tell everyone about this odd encounter, but I think I might have gotten away with it. We had been climbing straight uphill for a while, and my face was pretty red. And the sunglasses and all.
Some parts of the hike were challenging. Not for #2 son, who went scampering about like a mountain goat or something, but for me. I am a good, steady walker. I am never the one who gets winded when I walk with friends at the park, and I have to step the treadmill up pretty well to keep my heart rate up at the gym, but I have to admit that some of those 45 degree angles had me puffing like a grampus.
#2 son told #1 son that I complained every time it got above 20 degree angle, but this was not true. It was only in comparison to his antics, like the aforementioned mountain goat, that I seemed less than plucky.
There were lots of actual woodland glades for our enjoyment. I joke about making a woodland glade in the shady flower garden in front of my house, but there were real woodland glades on our hike, it being a forest and all.
There were small, shy woodland flowers.
There was also a heron. This was kind of amazing, since it flew down onto the path ahead of us in an open space, and then walked through a wooded bit on the path ahead of us, as if it had been just another hiker. We followed behind it but could not get a picture before it flew away again.
This log bridge was also a bit challenging for me. I used to run across them lightly, but this time I had #2 son hold my bag and walked across in a gingerly fashion, as though it were a tightrope, while he made fun of me.
Since it was only a few inches above the water and the water was only a few inches deep, it wouldn’t have mattered much if I had fallen. I could even have simply walked across the creek bed if I had felt like it.
It just was another of those reminders of age.
There were a couple of benches along the way, one in a little stone gazebo and one a bit of log on unconvincing legs. “When I’m 90,” I said, “I’ll have to sit on those and rest when we do this hike.”
After our hike, we went down to the swimming beach. The lodge and the bathhouse are WPA projects, and are on the National register of Historic Places. I really like the lodge. I could imagine living there.
Especially if I got to keep the lake and the forest.
#2 son swam, but the water was very cold and filled with seaweed and small, screaming children. Accordingly, I decided to sit under a tree and read.
Here, for the sake of the Summer Reading Challenge, is a picture of the place where I read.
Also for the Summer Reading Challenge, I will tell you the interesting thing I learned about soy products from Marion Nestle’s What to Eat. In 1999, the soy industry got permission from the government to claim that soy lowers cholesterol. This was based on the fact that Asians eat lots of soy and have low cholesterol. Nestle points out the logical flaws there, and mentions that further research since then has been unable to support this claim. In fact, the government permission is only for the claim that the soy protein in 32 ounces a day of soy milk may reduce bad cholesterol levels, a fact which is irrelevant to most people. My husband is Asian, and all the soy we ever consume is soy sauce. He prefers fish sauce, actually. He does have terrific cholesterol, though.
The reason the soy industry did this is that soy products by and large don’t taste good (this has been my experience, and I guess Nestle is relying here on some research, but I know that I have seen Kali Mama being pretty enthusiastic about soy smoothies, so she may be overgeneralizing here), so people will only buy them if they are convinced that there is some health magic going on with them. Apparently, there isn’t any such magic.
Today I plan a PSD, which will require strength of character so that I can ignore all the things around the house that need doing, and all the work I could be doing on the computer, and all the things I might do for my family. Not to mention all the furniture piled up in the living room. I moved my sewing machine to the laundry room, though, and that might actually be a better place for it. If nothing else, it will make it easier to ignore things. After the boys get home, we might do our next hike, which is a short one.