Thursday, March 23, 2017

Mud and Pine (Lakes, that is)

On the Pine and Cedar trail
Today, which was expected to be without rain, prompted eighteen (!) Senior Trailblazers to head to Mud Lake, which was on the schedule for the day. This is a strenuous hike, although not terribly long (around nine miles total), but because of all the ups and downs. Not much of it is flat. We start at the Pine and Cedar Lakes trailhead, and the first mile or so is incredibly steep, which means it's hard going up it and hard coming back down. An unmarked trail off the regular trail leads you to Mud Lake.
Mud Lake
The name is a bit of a misnomer, because it's not all that muddy, but today there was logging going on at the lake, on the far side from us, and because of the noise and smell of diesel fuel, we decided not to have lunch there, but went back up to the road. By this time the sun had come out, although a stiff breeze kept us in our coats, we were quite satisfied to bask in the warm rays of the sun while we enjoyed our lunch.
Judith, Peggy, Diane
Peggy had brought along some friends who are interested in the hiking group; before they left for the day they gave Al their information so they can decide when they might want to join us again. With the group so large, I never had a chance to talk with them, but I'm sure I will on subsequent hikes. They both did very well with the distance and elevation change.
Ferns along the trail
One of the things that makes this so challenging is that once you climb up the Pine and Cedar trail elevation, heading to Mud Lake means you lose around 800 feet getting to the lake. Which of course means that you descend and then must climb back up to the regular trail. You can see that there is still quite a bit of brown along with the ferns, but upon closer inspection we could see lots of signs of spring. Last year, however, we saw trillium in bloom by the end of March. Not so this year.
Teeny little buds of some kind
Peggy pointed these little guys out to me. They are so small that I had to bend all the way to the ground to take this picture; they are not as long as my little fingernail. I wish I had something to show you their relative size, but I don't. Anyway, as we headed back and regained the usual Pine and Cedar trail, we decided to head down to Pine Lake so we could enjoy an environment without the disturbance we encountered at Mud Lake.
The walkway around Pine Lake
And here we had plenty of signs of spring: for one thing, swamp lanterns (skunk cabbage) were beginning to emerge from the moist ground and standing water along the sides. They are in their first stages, but they are definitely there!
Poking its yellow "lantern" skyward
These plants will grow to an enormous size, and although they are reputed to have a bad smell, I guess it's in the nose of the beholder, because some of us sort of like the smell. At Pine Lake, we stopped to admire the view before continuing on our return journey.
Pine Lake in the sunshine in early spring
Pine and Cedar Lakes trail is a frequent wintertime destination for the Trailblazers, and this view looks so much better to me when it's not raining, like today. We enjoyed it for a bit, while our intrepid Trailblazer Richard took off his clothes and jumped in! Last year he jumped into Mud Lake, but this year he waited for this much better venue.
Heading back down to the cars
And then we headed back down the trail, taking the steepest parts more slowly (thank you, Al) and finally reaching the trailhead after six hours in the wilderness. We covered around nine miles total, and overall traveling up and down around 3,000 feet of elevation. No wonder I'm tired. However, I am very pleased to say that my hip feels no different at the end of the day than it did at the beginning. That's not to say I am not tired and sore, but that I did it! Tomorrow I am scheduled for a massage, and I will make sure to do my exercises before I climb into bed. All in all, a very good day!


  1. Woo Hoo.]
    I am so happy that your hip is in recovery mode.
    Loved (as always) walking with you.

  2. Yay! Hip back to normal! It sounds like a challenging trail but so worth it!

  3. Glad to know you had such a good day of hiking.

  4. It was good to have a dry day with some sunshine! Signs of spring are slow to appear this year. I always love seeing the skunk cabbage emerging from the boggy ground.
    We went for our walk and then worked in the yard today. we're tired too.

  5. Wow! 9 miles! Very impressive. So glad you had a beautiful day for this hike. I imagine the camaraderie is just as rewarding as the hike :-)

  6. Glad your hip has recovered. Sounds like a very challenging hike to me.

  7. Congrats to your hip!!! That sounds like it was quite the test, too. Whoohoo!! Glad to hear it and loved all the great pics. :)

  8. Another beautiful Thursday hike! Glad your hip is doing well.

  9. We have over 14,000 lakes of which near one hundred are called "Mud". Non as intriguing as the hike nor as beautiful as yours...:)

  10. Happy to read you are back hiking DJan, it looks like a good time was had by all !

  11. Wonderful news that your hip seems to be once again well. What you are doing is certainly working. I have to smile when you refer to a 9 mile hike as not being a long one. That wooden walk way was a thoughtful addition by someone considering they had to haul in the lumber and work in water.

  12. the steep parts are not a challenge as far as effort and stamina is concerned . It's mainly about safety. It's always nice to welcome new people.

  13. Well, if the hip pain was manageable, then good news. Take care, DJan. Have a nice massage.

  14. It is spring there!! Looks good to me and I am so glad your hip made the hike okay:)


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