Eleven Senior Trailblazers headed up to Lost Lake from the Larrabee State Park (Clayton Beach) parking lot today. I thought we would have more of a crowd, since the day dawned clear and cold (40F), after last week's short hike in sub-freezing temperatures with lots of snow. However, those of us who did show up today had a great day. That is not to say it was easy, because it wasn't. A total of more than ten miles (but less than eleven) and an elevation gain of somewhere between 2,600 and 2,800 feet, with mud, snow, steep and treacherous ups and breathtaking slips and slides down. I fell once into a swamp and muddied myself pretty significantly, but it dried within an hour's time. We saw many sights along the trail today, and this picture of these trees determined to grow, even with an inhospitable rock under them, impressed me.
The determined trees sent their roots past the rock into the soil below, and they do seem to be doing pretty well, considering. Al, our fearless leader, went out on Tuesday during a major windstorm to check out the loop around Lost Lake, and although there were times when I doubted his direction, we did indeed make it to our usual lunch spot. He wrote about his Tuesday adventure here.
Not only that, but the sun was shining brightly on our spot while we stopped for lunch. Every one of us enjoyed this break at the lake, although it took us more than three hours to reach it, through bog and mud interspersed with beauty. This downed log showed us that it had been a favorite of woodpeckers, with rows of pecked-out holes. These patterns went all the way up and down the entire log.
By the time we started back after our wonderful lunch break, we had many more miles to cover before we would be back at the cars. My knees were complaining because of the downhill sections, and I was not alone. I heard others talking about their knees, too. But you know, once you're out there in the wilderness, there's not much you can do except keep on truckin' until you reach the starting point. Once we got there, however, Amy (our social secretary) pulled out a tray of cupcakes to celebrate Al's 72nd birthday. It was only two days late, but Amy is nothing if not determined to acknowledge each and every birthday we celebrate.
Al successfully blew out his single candle (whew!) while we looked on. And then, of course, we enjoyed the sweet chocolate treat. I look at this picture and smile, feeling incredibly fortunate to have found this group of like-minded seniors. We get together every Thursday, rain or shine, to experience the outdoors with each other. Ranging in age from 62 to 81, nothing could ever replace the enjoyment I feel after a day with the Trailblazers!