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When is a trail not a trail?

Fall in the woods – A couple of huffing and puffing deer ran past just before I took this picture. Not that I knew it at the time, but I was slightly ‘misplaced.’ When the trail started going downhill, I knew I wasn’t where I thought I was. Hercules Glades Wilderness – Day Two. Copyright © 2020 Gary Allman, all rights reserved.

Bushwhacking my way back from Beaver Creek to the top of the ridge–some three-hundred feet of climbing–wasn’t the easiest of tasks. As per my plan once I got to the top of the hollow I located myself on the map using the GPS and then worked out a compass bearing to take me back to where I’d started. With a couple of minor blips it went well, though one of those minor blips did include crossing over the trail without my noticing it. It’s not the first time I’ve done that. It’s a problem with little used, leaf covered trails.

Back on the trail I headed back the way I’d come, and it wasn’t long before I was at the point where I needed to start bushwhacking again to find the northern hollow that leads down to Beaver Creek. I decided to skirt the top of the hollow, and instead of using the compass relied on pulling out the GPS every now and then. Unexpectedly, I found myself back on the main trail (or so I thought). WTF? A very quick glance at the GPS, told me I was back on the trail, and that made up my mind. It was getting late, I didn’t fancy getting all the way down to Beaver Creek and finding it was a fools errand again, so I decided to gird my loins and hike the three plus miles back to ‘Twin Falls Creek.’ The trail was really easy going, and I started making good time. I should be back in time to set up camp in daylight.

Some huffing and puffing deer, brought me to a halt to admire the scenery (and take the picture at the top of the page). Then off I set again. In a short distance the trail started to head downhill.

Hold on.

The trail should go uphill to the glades. This was not the trail I was looking for. A closer inspection of the GPS showed that I hadn’t been on the main trail at all. This must be some old unmarked forest road. The solution was simply to turn 90 degrees right and climb up the slope until I crossed the real trail. And that’s what I did. Once back on the trail I continued making good time. I arrived back at ‘Twin Falls Creek’ around five-thirty, with plenty of time before it got dark. I decided to revisit another of my preferred campsites, This one perched high on the side of the hollow overlooking the creek. Collecting water and hanging the food bag line before it got dark were my priorities. It didn’t take long to get everything set up and ready for the night.

Altogether I hiked over nine miles including a fair bit of off-trail bushwhacking. That’s not too shabby for me.

Copyright © 2020 Gary Allman, all rights reserved.