Fun in the Woods and Lessons Learned
By: Pat Coate – Actually a special guest column this week by friend Kathy H. with an entertaining, well-written account of our recent adventures in the 9 Mile Forest.
“Pat and I began our hike at 2:15 pm. The rain/drizzle had stopped; skies were still heavy with clouds.
We walked in with a “solid” plan (mine): down to the stream as soon as we started to hear it, then follow along crossing springs as we met them staying on the right side of the main stream so that the road was to our right. Having just walked the stream two weekends ago I felt confident to just run in and out without my usual amount of water or my pack with necessities. Just grabbed a pack to hold leeks and a rain jacket and brought along one water.
Pat and I collected some leeks, appreciated the clean water, and took some pics. Wildflowers are just starting to emerge there. Today we saw flowers not quite open: spring beauties, hepatica and yellow violets. As we mosied along I noticed some familiar landmarks.
Then we began venturing into different terrain, coming across an old rusted very large (possibly sluice?) pipe. Trying to get bearings we saw a road. Remembered one from hike two weeks ago and a couple roads from past visits. These are really just old overgrown logging roads and though I was reasonably certain the directions of roads I’d been on previously – was not certain which we were on as we had approached from a different direction. We went back to the stream for awhile then back up to the road which seemed to take a lot longer than it should. We eventually came across an old crashed snowmobile and I knew then this was an unfamiliar road and therefore did not know what direction we should go.
We walked toward the top of the hill to see if we could see the real road, but I was sure we wouldn’t as the hill we were on was too steep to be where we needed to be. I think we must have accidentally crossed over the main stream and were venturing into hills behind it. Now, realizing I was not sure where we were, and as we exited the hill, we both felt opposite directions were the way out. We were somewhat turned around and not certain what direction to go. We chose one and both gently lectured ourselves about what we should have brought and kidded a bit about what plants we would eat. One of us might have sworn a little bit.
Thankfully, Pat had a little compass clipped to her jacket. If she shook it hard enough she could get a reading. There was absolutely no sun to help with figuring out west to verify. Pat kept her cool, and I sweat buckets for a brief moment, then we took it in stride, thankful temps were mild, rain had stopped and that deep freeze predictions were for Monday night not tonight.
Together, after more discussion, we figured out what direction we would need to walk and although at first it looked wrong to me, we eventually found a point where stream flow lined up with the direction we felt we should go. Shortly after, the sun peeked out which helped to verify we were walking the right direction. We followed the current downhill and east making our way back to previous places we crossed and finally back to our start point. We got to our cars around 5:45 – 6pm, I think, and this should have been about a 2 1/2 – 3 hour hike.
A(nother) lesson learned today. AND YOU CAN LEARN FROM US. 🙂 I had removed my good compass and kit with matches and yellow flagging tape to put in another pack I used a bit ago. Just didn’t think I needed it today. I almost always have it with me. I also always take 2 -3 bottles of water and hadn’t today. I was glad I had a lot of kitchen garbage bags, just in case, but was wishing I had larger black garbage bags, just in case.
Can’t close without saying it was very lovely and peaceful there today – so many pretty little waterfalls making great water sounds, though Pat is probably tired of hearing water now. 🙂 And things are really greening up – it is starting to look a little lush. We did hear some birds, but not very many. I should also add Pat’s dog, Kadin, did a great job keeping up with us!
To add to the adventure, there was no cell service where we hiked. And if we would have followed random logging roads to the end, it is likely there would have been no houses for miles.
Want to repeat apologies to Pat for leading you astray and thank you again for your patience. Glad you are so level headed. :)”
Pat: As I told Kathy, no apologies necessary – it was a fun outing, maybe just a tad more invigorating than usual! Look forward to the next one – and I’ll be sure to pack my brand new GPS system!
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