Thursday, April 29, 2010

Adventures in mud

This picture does not show, except in the barest way, how muddy our hike was today. Seventeen Senior Trailblazers headed out to try a new Olsen Creek/Stewart Mountain hike that was mapped out on Tuesday by our intrepid leader Al. He wrote about it at length on a GeezerHiker post, if you want to know why we went on this particular trip. As it turned out, it was filled with adventure, not just because we hiked most of the day in deep mud, you know the sucking kind where a foot placement would leave you with an audible attempt to pull your foot back out of the deep mud.
The group was game for this hike, though, because we had been warned by the description of it being at least ten miles long and rated "hard." It was actually almost twelve miles and 2,500 feet of elevation gain and loss. Once we left the logging road (after a mile or two), we started to hike on an old horse trail that wound definitely uphill. The trail was pretty evident from the horse apples and water-filled depressions left by those horses.

By the time we got to the steepest uphill, we had a mishap: Ward took a step off the side of the hill! When I turned to see what the commotion was, I saw him falling downhill head over heels! I saw him take several complete revolutions before he came to a stop about fifty feet from the top of the trail.
Way down there amongst the trees (click to enlarge) you can see Ward climbing back up to us: no obvious injuries, and he managed to avoid hitting a tree, breaking his neck, or doing anything worse than losing his hat and water bottles, which he found on his way back up to us. Ward has now officially relinquished one of his nine lives. It is amazing that nothing happened to him, but I cannot help thinking that tomorrow he will feel some bumps and bruises.
When we stopped for lunch, we had a beautiful view of Lake Whatcom, although the view of the Twin Sisters and Mt. Baker were obscured by clouds. This was not a bad consolation prize. The rain kept away from us most of the day, and we only had the occasional sprinkle. After lunch, though, we headed down through a logging operation, which was pretty depressing. I couldn't help but think of all the birds that had built nests in the doomed trees. I won't show you any pictures of that because it was just too darned gloomy. Instead, I will leave you with a picture of the beautiful trillium flower, three petals, three leaves, and only visible for a short while in the springtime in these parts.
At the end of the hike, we had a little confusion about where the parking lot was, but we were so tired that when we finally reunited, we dragged ourselves back to our respective cars, drove back to the Senior Center, and hobbled to our homes. And of course I wanted to share with all of you the muddy adventures, so here you are!
:-)

21 comments:

  1. Sounds exciting and wonderful. But, gad, thank goodness Ward escaped unharmed...well, as you said, tomorrow will let him know; perhaps, he's beginning to discover a few sore muscles and bruises.

    Great photos.

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  2. I wondered where we would be going today. I'm very surprised the fall guy wasn't injured. Thanks for the trip.

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  3. It's a good thing he didn't fall off a cliff, because he'd be a gonner for sure. The angels were looking after him.

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  4. Somehow this hike just doesn't sound like that much fun. But I'm impressed that you all stuck it out.

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  5. You are so active!! Love the pictures!!

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  6. Glad you are all okay. Thanks for sparing me the grim pictures of the logging operation. I'm feeling a bit sad for Mother Earth today with the oil spill. When will we be able to stop the damage?
    The trillium is beautiful...I'll try to focus on that...thank you.
    Hope Ward won't be too sore tomorrow. xo

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  7. At least you get some beauty for your efforts!

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  8. You never cease to amaze me! Oh how I wish that I had some walking partners!

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  9. That's amazing; a true head over heels and no major injury? Somebody's watching over him! I'm glad you had a nice hike despite the mud and mishap. I always enjoy these Thursday hikes. The trillium is quite sweet.

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  10. I'm glad to hear Ward is okay after the tumble, I'll bet he will be sore tomorrow. And after trudging through the mud other members of the group might have an ache or two as well.

    The trillium is so pretty, I haven't seen one since we moved to this side of the Cascades.

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  11. "the sucking kind where a foot placement would leave you with an audible attempt to pull your foot back out of the deep mud."
    I've had a pretty crazy Geology field trip tromping around in that kind of mud for a couple of hours... in the rain! Every so often someone's foot would get stuck for real and would need help pulling out... and often as not the person doing the pulling would end up falling on their asses while attempting to help! Lots of laughs and lots of mud that day! I was just glad at the end of it that I had actually thought to bring a change of clothes so I wasn't wet during the 4h bus-ride home (only 1 other person -my roommate- out of 20 thought of that, the others were very envious!).

    Those photos are just more beautiful each post! I'm going to have to fly over and spend a few weeks with you just so I can tag along on these amazing hikes!!! ;o) (I wish!)

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  12. Sounds like all the people had a good time. I think the feet must have been soaked too.

    You read my dream.

    I had one a couple of night ago, a lot like the one you read, except it was about Bill Gates and I was at his house.

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  13. I lost my favorite hiking hat when I took a spill in a kayak. Thankgoodness your friend was O.K.

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  14. You certainly don't look like a bunch of old geezers to me. You look like a bunch of very fit people. I'm sure there are lots of people half your age who couldn't do that.

    I'm glad Ward is okay.

    What a spectacular view, by the way!

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  15. The view was so worth the mud!
    ♥...Wanda

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  16. I never heard of senior hiker clubs but it makes so much sense now that I have been reading your blog. I told my grandson about you by the way. Your skydiving experience.

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  17. Your hiking group is filled with simply amazing people! You being my favorite!!! Wow! What a muddy adventure...I would think that the mud would make it an even greater workout...all that resistance to slog your way through...Glad Ward wasn't seriously hurt...bet you all had a few anxious moments! The trillium is exquisite...another fantastic shot, dear DJ! I love tagging along on your wonderful hikes...thanks for inviting me :-) Have a WONDERFUL weekend! Love, Janine XO

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  18. Hey DJan...How's Ward today?

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  19. The trillium is Ontario's provincial flower. What beautiful countryside!

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  20. Gorgeous shots and thank goodness he wasn't harmed in his fall down the steep, steep hill. You be careful out there too!

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  21. I hope Ward can walk today! But then you guys are all so fit..that perhaps he is non the worse for the wear. Scary tumble.
    The Trillium is stunning..they are such a beautiful plant! :)

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