Wednesday was the first day of fall, and mother nature set aside her cool and damp weather of last week to bless us with a perfect day for hiking. I traveled back to Farragut State Park to take up where I'd left off along Shoreline Trail two weeks ago (see this post). It's looking a bit more like autumn, with these sumacs working on turning red.
Gee, that's a bit of a drive for such a short hike, but I knew I could justify the 30 mile drive by checking out other unexplored parts of the park afterwards, so off I went.
This part of the Shoreline Trail does not hug the shoreline quite like the rest. The stretch to Buttonhook Bay is higher up on the mountainside through more wooded sections, with a few more ups and downs, but still a pretty gentle walk.
Half a mile is normally about a ten minute walk for me, and I was questioning that the bay could be that close. Remember the picture I took from the lagoon showing the point beyond which the bay lies? I thought the trail would go around that point of land, but instead, that point is more like a little island, with the trail coming out to the right of it onto the bay and these public docks. You are looking at the southernmost part of Lake Pend Oreille.
On the highway leading to the Park, there's this sign telling of a former town somewhere near this spot. I'd have to agree that a cruise up the lake would definitely have been more attractive than the overland slog back in those days!
I noted a bridge to the left, over a bit of swampy land between the main trail and that island-like point that turns this bay into a buttonhook. I could see a narrow steep trail taking off around the point and decided I'd check it out on my way back. For now, it was continue on another half mile to the viewpoint.
These two birds had the bay to themselves. Don't know what they are.
Looking at the southernmost shore, I was struck by how green the water was. Well, maybe some of it was due to reflecting the pine trees.
A sudden movement startled me as I made my way between the trees. Ah, just a squirrel, and none too happy at me being there.
Finally, the trail gave up on the shoreline and turned back into the woods and started up. I was hoping for not too much steepness and not for too long but what did I expect? You've got to be up a ways to get a view. After several twists and a look at my watch to see if I'd made a wrong turn or overshot the viewpoint, I faced this incline and thought, "That viewpoint had better be up there and there had better be a bench to sit on!" Surely I'd come the half mile beyond arriving at the bay indicated on the sign back at the start.
Huff, puff...I reached that farthest point I could see when I made my threat and behold! Here was the viewpoint, and yes, there was a bench!
Here's another shot that shows better how the bay wraps around that point in buttonhook fashion. I paused for a bite to eat and to rest before making my way back down. Just a beautiful peaceful place to just be.
And while I watched, I single boat made its way around into the bay, cut its engines and tossed out a line to fish.
On the way down, my eye noticed how very green these pine boughs picked out by the sun looked. So much looks very dry right now, but here in this cool shady spot, they looked quite fresh.
And now back along the shore and looking at what I'd walked through, I was surprised to see so much color and how the reflection looking this direction was so different from. Same deep green waters but now with something sun drenched and fall-like mirrored in them.
Let's take a closer look.
And a bit closer. I'm seeing some tree trunks rippling a bit like the boat masts in the waters at city beach.
Moving to another spot. My poor camera was about to have a nervous breakdown trying to figure out how to focus and deal with the light!
Another section - it was like eating potato chips, I couldn't stop...
And I also couldn't help thinking of Monet and the Impressionists. It is easy to see where the inspiration for the movement might have come from. I'm pondering how I might use these if printed on fabric.
From this spot I could look across at that bit of point and knew I'd leave unsatisfied if I didn't walk its trail too. So I put the camera away and continued on to that bridge that would lead me there.
And this tells me that the bridge has a connection to the Naval Station that once occupied what has since become a State Park. My question is, was the bridge built for this spot or was it repurposed once the Navy left?
I was hoping that after the initial steep climb, the trail would level off as it circled round but boy, was I wrong. It was a real up and down scramble that had me wondering what I was thinking since I'd already taxed myself a bit getting up to the viewpoint. But it was one of those things that once started, it didn't make a lot of sense to turn back and I knew it wasn't very long. And the views were certainly worth it. The only thing that would have made it better - to see a mountain goat scrambling in the rocks across the way. No such luck.
Goodness - did I mention how green the water is down at this end? I just couldn't get over it.
Well, that's it for the Shoreline Trail. I'll share the rest of the park in the next post.