|Start of today's outing|
Our Senior Trailblazers group was scheduled to drive over an hour to Artist Point to begin our annual hike to Ptarmigan Ridge, a very special one I've done once a year with this group. The other group was also scheduled to head up there, to do the Chain Lakes loop hike, which we accomplished a few weeks ago. Since the weather was iffy, we decided to go local, while the other group went ahead with their original plans. That meant several of our regulars went with them instead of us, but we were still thirteen.
|Heading up to Raptor Ridge|
The nice thing about the Pine & Cedar trail is that we can make it longer or shorter, depending on the weather. It was cloudy but not raining, and we knew we would get a good workout. We decided to include a side trip to Raptor Ridge before heading to the lakes.
|The non-view from Raptor Ridge|
Nope, no view, but we didn't expect one. After this stop, we headed back to the Pine & Cedar Lakes trail and made our way first to the Cedar Lake overlook (nope, no view there either) and then to Cedar Lake.
|The usual Cedar Lake lunch spot|
The weather was pretty perfect, with no rain and a light breeze, cool weather and happy hikers. Although we could have stopped here, it was still early, and Al suggested we push on to Pine Lake before stopping for lunch.
Although the only way I could tell the difference between these two lakes today is where they appeared in the lineup of pictures, they are both quite picturesque, and as you can see, the green leaves in the foreground are not yet beginning to turn.
Since the rains have returned for the season, everywhere we looked we could see mushrooms springing up. I don't have a clue what these are, but I like their pretty dotted swiss look. We discussed the efficacy of eating wild mushrooms. It would take someone with a lot more knowledge (and bravery) than I before I would even consider it.
And then we arrived at Pine Lake, where we made ourselves comfy and enjoyed a leisurely lunch. There was still no rain, and the wind we felt on Raptor Ridge was not evident here at all. It was perfect, once we put on extra clothing because of our earlier exertions.
Melanie took this picture of some big holes in an old tree, and we speculated what had made them. She thought they might be too big for woodpeckers, but that's what I think caused them. What do you think?
We saw another species of mushroom, this one having been disturbed on the upper left by something, probably critters, but entirely different in shape and form from the earlier ones. It amazes me how quickly they appear once the ground is once again wet from the rains.
And then it was time to return to our cars and head back home. Since we didn't have a long drive, it was still early, compared to when we would have come back from the High Country. The cars from the other group were still there when we returned, and I pictured them on the trail, hoping that their day was as good as ours turned out to be. We covered seven-and-a-half miles and 2,200 feet or so up and down. It didn't begin to rain until we were on our final leg, and even that was just a few drops. More rain is expected later today.
So we were more than happy with our day's excursion, and I look forward to better weather and some views when we finally make a Ptarmigan Ridge attempt this year!