I ran some errands this morning, noting not a cloud in the sky and mid-70's for temps - I simply could not justify staying inside after lunch, even though I have a little sewing project half done. I was being pulled two directions: I could get my walk in at city beach, then read some there (rather than on my back deck) and give sketching those shelter timbers another go; or I could get out in the woods again for a hike and some sketching. When I left the house, I really wasn't sure which way this would go, throwing in both novel for the beach and water and hiking shoes for the woods. Ahh, the pull of the woods was strong, even though the trail I was contemplating, the Mickinnick, is rated "more difficult." It's less than three miles away while the easier ones are farther, across the long bridge which I didn't want to cross on a Friday afternoon. I decided to drive to the trail head just to check it out. Maybe I could handle a small portion of it.
|That dotted red squiggle in the upper left is my trail destination|
I studied the info and map at the trail head, noted several cars in the lot, and decided to go for it. Not far down the trail I met a man on his way back out, one who looked at least my age and not decked out in hiking gear straight out of Eddie Bauer or REI. That always encourages me - I can do this! However, the trail quickly lived up to it's rating and headed steeply up the mountain with switchbacks. I knew that half a mile up the trail was a viewing spot with benches and set that as my goal. Surely, even in my out of shape condition, I can make my way a half-mile up this trail. I did, but I was sure glad for the resting spot. I'd made about 200 ft elevation change.
|Looking east - View of Lake Pend Oreille & the Cabinet Mountains|
I purposely did not throw in a camera this time, knowing I would stay steadier on the hiking and observing if I were not constantly whipping it out for a shot. The view of Pend Oreille Lake was a perfect sketching subject, framed with fir trees which I now noted sported very different needle configurations, and made me rest longer than I probably would have allowed myself otherwise. So rested did I become that I decided to continue up the trail for a bit. I'm not sure how much farther I went but I think at least another half mile. This section had more flat and gentle inclining spots but then would suddenly take off at a steep climb. I have a terrible habit of pushing myself "just a little further, just up around that bend" and I was finding it hard to stop. I kept thinking that surely another bench must be coming up soon, another even better vista the higher up I went, but I finally gave in as I could feel my legs starting to complain.
|View from the 2nd bench (which I did not reach) photo from Trimbleoutdoors.com|
It was mostly all downhill, but that too can take a bit out of you. I paused at the bench again, nibbling on nuts and enjoying the view, before descending the last leg to the trail head. Maybe some day I'll have gotten back to my old fitness and make it the entire way to the top (3.5 miles, 2150 feet elevation change), or at least to the second bench about half way there. But for now, I was extremely encouraged, and happy to have finally given this trail a go.