The sky was clear overnight, but by the morning the cloud had rolled in and it was dreary. The temperature had dropped to a low of 43°F, I was nice and toasty, though the wind kept finding its way between my under quilt and hammock.
While I was heating water for a hot drink and breakfast a brief shower of rain started to pitter-patter on the tarp. With rain in the forecast, I decided to get moving as quickly as possible and try and beat the worst of it. It was only 4.7 miles back to the parking lot, but I had a set of falls to visit on the way.
I did not check the topography in detail before coming out. A close look at the map showed that I’d be crossing quite a few hollows, so there would be more hills to climb than I was expecting. More exercise, not a problem! That’s why I’m out hiking. And if it started to rain heavily, I have wet-weather gear.
I did a wet weather pack up. That involves taking everything down and packing it all away with the tarp set. Much to my surprise, I was ready to hit the trail at ten after nine. That must be a record!
Ten minutes later I was at the trail junction where the short cut from the South Loop joins.
This section of the trail quickly widened out into what must have been a forest road. There were shallow drainage ditches on either side of the ‘road’ which is very unusual.
Partway along the ‘road’ I spotted what looked to my untutored eyes like a very small bunker access hatch a short way off the trail, which I had to investigate.
Did I take a peek inside? Of course. I wasn’t at all surprised by what I found, and it made me chuckle. I didn’t take a picture, and I’m not saying what I found. If you want to find out what’s down there you’ll have to hike out and find out for yourself.
Back home I did some image searches and found out that these were used as in-ground trash or swill containers. This one had been used as a fire pit, and now had a new resident. And that’s all I’m saying.
Another few minutes and there were branches and a small tree spread across the road. I’ve learned my lesson about closed trails, and looked around. The trail turned left leaving the road, and not much further on there was a healthy-looking stock pond.
As I’m finding, sometimes working out where the trail leaves a stock pond site can be difficult. In this case, the trail headed out to left (south-ish) past the pond, and down into the first hollow of the day’s hike.
Down in the hollow I stopped to take a selfie and a picture of the creek. I didn’t need to top up with water, I was planning on doing that when I got to the falls.
The rain was misting, not enough to warrant wet weather gear, and just enough to get everything damp. As I was going to be finishing the hike in a few hours I decided not to bother with rain gear unless it really started to rain hard. Once again I wished the camera was weather sealed. I put the camera away to keep it dry – so no more pictures for a while.
A little over an hour later and I was looking down on the falls. I toyed with the idea of not stopping, but I was out of water, and decided it might be worth taking some pictures even if it was a dull, gray day. The trail goes right past the falls anyway, so the diversion was minimal.
I thought I’d try and get a selfie by the falls. I wasn’t quick enough the first time and barely made it into the picture.
I did better on my second attempt.
Just the final push back to the trailhead and parking lot to do. That took just an hour to complete.
End of Trip Thoughts
- I prefer the Trangia over the Fancee Feest stove, even if the latter is lighter.
- I like Paddy Creek Wilderness, I’ll be back. There’s the most impressive Slabtown overlook still to visit.
- The woodstove worked well, I just have to make sure the wood is dry. I only used it once on this trip so I’m going to have to take it out on another trip to see if it is a viable alternative.
- I must remember that, if there’s a choice I should always camp where the sun will shine first thing in the morning.
- The Zpacks Arc Haul backpack is the most comfortable pack I’ve owned to date. I can’t wait to try it out with a lighter load.
- Anywhere where a trail runs through a flood plain the trail is going to get washed out, so expect to do some bushwhacking.