Thursday, March 31, 2016

Mud Lake Marathon

Chris, Bill, Barbara, Bill (in front). , Rich, Steve, Sue, Doug (and me)
Nine Senior Trailblazers met at the Senior Center to enjoy a hike to Mud Lake, which was a first for many. I had gone twice before, but we didn't have our leader Al (with his GPS) again; however, we were fairly confident that we would have no problems. Wrong. This hike starts up the Pine and Cedar Lakes trailhead and takes a turn off to an old logging road. That first part never fails to be challenging, up 1300 feet (400 meters) in just a mile and a half. But then it seems easy as we walk on lovely trails.
A beautiful day, a lovely trail
We took the trail towards Pine Lake but turned off onto an old unmarked trail to head to Mud Lake. It could not have been a more wonderful day, with full sun and little to no breeze. This trail then turns into an old logging road, which we followed to another trail that took us right to Mud Lake.
The narrow dock at Mud Lake, with Trailblazers checking it out
Although it sounds rather swampy, most of Mud Lake is really rather pretty. While we were admiring the view, Rich was busy shedding his clothes for one of this favorite activities: a dip in the lake. And I managed to capture him right as he dove in!
Rich and his reflection at splashdown
Rich is well known for his propensity to use any available large water source for a quick dip. I recently learned that he never takes hot showers, instead preferring cold showers. And his wife Chris is no less hardy: it was not even a week ago that she had surgery on her broken wrist, and here she was today (check out that first picture again) with one trekking pole and a cast on the other arm!
See a trail anywhere? Neither did we
But when we turned back to retrace our steps, we accidentally took a bike trail instead of the one we should have taken. Several of us in the back had misgivings about this trail, since it bore little resemblance to what we remembered. However, we soldiered on, as it seemed likely we would run into the trail to Pine Lake eventually.
A conference, what to do?
But where were we? Would it be possible to find a shorter way back to Pine Lake than to backtrack where we left the road? We had Barbara's phone which showed that we were on the east side of Pine Lake (where we hoped to have lunch) and a quickly deteriorating trail. Here's what Tall Bill's track showed:
Blue dot, start, and red dot, lunch spot
I had to differentiate between our two Bills today somehow, so one I called "Tall Bill" and the other "Doctor Bill." Tall Bill showed our track on his phone (above), with the straight line showing where we were without cell coverage. The left track showed us at Mud Lake, but the red spot showed where we ended up in relation to Pine (lower) and Cedar (upper) Lakes. With nothing between us but unknown terrain.

So we backtracked back to the road and then easily found the proper trail. By this time I was so tired I didn't know if I could make it, but since Chris was still gamely plodding on with a cast and her single trekking pole, I just kept going. Once we were on the correct return path, it was easy to just put one foot in front of the other to the end.

For everyone but me, that is. I don't now how much elevation we actually ended up climbing and descending, but my knees began to give out on the final descent. Steve carried my pack for the last quarter mile, as it was getting very hard for me to keep going. That helped me so much! We covered around twelve miles and close to 3,000 feet up and down before we reached the cars.

Now that I am home with my wine and ibuprofen, I am feeling MUCH better. But that's why this post is called the "Mud Lake Marathon." Yup. I'm not getting up for awhile.


  1. 12 miles! and unworn trails, too! yup, rest easy, tough lady! (you do have a tough crowd you hang with!)

  2. Wow! That was quite a trek. You are tough! No wonder you are are tired. Enjoy the evening.

  3. Sometimes it's very simple to take a wrong trail. I hope the knees recover quickly.

  4. Oh my goodness! What an adventure you had! I can barely do 8 miles on flat land at regular elevation. What a very intrepid bunch you hang out with. I can't imagine jumping into a cold lake or ever hiking with a broken wrist. Wow!

  5. You be careful and take good care of yourself!

  6. I had always thought you were superwoman.
    Rest up.
    And well done you.

  7. Wow - that's one tough hike! Lucky you had good weather.

  8. You certainly earned your wine and your rest after that hike!

  9. Wow, 12 miles? That's too much for a woman your age. Maybe, you should hike only when Al is the leader?

  10. It does seem to be getting riskier without Al. Whew! Or maybe it's time to avoid certain hikes with questionable trails. ;) Glad it was a gorgeous day, though! :)

  11. You are intrepid. Now I hope you let your body rest and recover!

  12. Ooh DJan, I would have been scared to have been lost on those trails. Sending healing wishes your way, I hope you can rest and soak in a warm Epsom Salt bath to help.

  13. You all give new meaning to the word tough. I know it must have really helped having someone carry your pack.
    Al really is indispensable isn't he? Maybe when he can't go, he can let you use his GPS or maybe chip in as a group to get a spare.

  14. There is nothing worse than having to backtrack. I think you prepare yourself for the miles ahead but when you have to add on more then the legs just don't want to know. I always love your description of relaxing once you are home.

  15. Sounds like a hard day for you. I think you need some forest service maps...can you download them to your phone? Something for when Al is not there...I don't want to hear about you all lost in the wilderness:)

  16. This post almost reads like a short story - adventure,uncertainty, and good ending!

  17. Yikes!!!! I know I couldn't make half that distance....


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