I looked at the weather forecast, smoke forecast, and my schedule for last week and spotted a small window of opportunity to finally go explore a new trail. I had every intention of getting over to the new Pine Street Woods public hiking/biking/cross country skiing area last summer but was thwarted by pretty much the same issues that have kept me off the trails this year. It's a short 15-20 minute drive across town and up a one lane dirt road with one switchback and several blind corners requiring one to keep to the 15 mph speed limit. But once up to trailheads and visitor center there's a large parking lot and this informative sign.
I'd printed out a map last year to scope out the trails, happy to note that most were around a mile - I don't have the stamina for long hikes like I used to. Was also happy to see that several of them include viewpoints and I am all about the view when I hike. The other interesting thing about these trails is that some link up with older trails outside of the Woods proper. So really, there seems to be something for everyone here. I'd been dithering over taking the Meadow Trail or the Crooked Tree Trail but since this day was around 80 degrees, it was a no brainer to choose the trail heading up into the trees. Since many trails start from generally the same area, I looked around for my Crooked Tree Trail marker to see that pictograms would be my guide.
My trail was a gentle but steady uphill climb along a lovely smooth and relatively wide path that soon ducked into the woods. I was keeping my eye out for crooked trees along the way.
Couldn't help envisioning a Disney cartoon or two looking at this tree with a hip or backside stuck out.
And over here, two trees deciding to be joined at the hip before soaring up into the air.
The quilter in me couldn't help but notice something we do all the time with striped fabric or parallel quilting lines - setting them at right angles to each other. Here it's the bark on one tree running up and down while the bark of the birch next to it shows horizontal lines.
Look how straight and true and very tall they rise as if in competition to see which can grow higher. Looks pretty even to me. No crooked trees here.
When not being intrigued by trees, I get intrigued by the occasional large boulder carried from elsewhere and set down as area's ice age glaciers and floods moved across northern Idaho.
This second one along the trail showed more wear and tear rather than the usual smooth surfaces. The last photo shows a large piece along the back that has cleaved away from the main boulder.
Starting to huff and puff a bit, I finally reached the top of the trail and to my pleasant surprise, the reward of the trail's namesake, the crooked tree!
The small sign in front of it did not tell me any history of the tree or what it is overlooking as I thought it would, but instead this plea to be respectful of it.
They're not kidding about this tree having to work hard to live on this spot. Just look at the exposed roots on either side.
|Click for a larger view and spot the sliver of lake in the background
In fact, this is pretty much one big rock outcropping. Just to the left of the tree is an expanse of smooth unbroken rock yards wide.
Just in front of it are smaller but still big rocks as the ground slopes away.
But the trees refuse to be deterred from making a home on this outcropping - hard to see how the roots find purchase.
And what about the view? Mountains higher than where I stand, a bit of haze but nothing to worry about.
I zoomed in on the bit of water I could see far off and think it is where the lake starts to become the river outlet. Always houses along the water . . .
. . . and up every narrow canyon. This may be part of a farm as there once was quite a bit of ranching in the area.
Time to head back down the trail. I'd noted on the map and while I was hiking that trails often run next to and cross each other. Here you can see one of the trails that are used by mountain bikes, their tire treads in the dirt, where it crosses my trail. I didn't see any bikes this day.
But not far from the top I was very surprised to see this abandoned car, complete with bullet holes! Well, this WAS once private property but even if it were not, it's not that unusual to run across abandoned cars and trucks like this in northern Idaho. I'm guessing that for now, it's probably more trouble and cost to try to remove it than the Trust can afford.
|Local joke - a very large plywood rendition of Big Foot
I do like a loop trail so you see something different coming back to the trail head. And I look forward to returning to the Woods to check out other trails. In the meantime, Big Foot is happy to see you go.