Continued from previous post : http://wp.me/p73yZZ-3ml
Summer of 2017 had been quite unpredictable. There were a few days of triple digit ( fahrenheit ) temperature followed by mild, even cool for summer, temperature. So when the leader of my weekend warrior group of hikers suggested a new trail, we decided on one that will be in shade for much of the hike just to be on the safe side.
PART 2: June 25, 2017 : Sunday: A New Trail
I would have missed this hike like many of the hikes that I missed during the last few months. After the kids left for college, need to get up early in the morning was no longer a priority. Specially during weekends, it had now became a habit of sorts to scan the social media in the morning. Normally the group that I hike with drive to one meeting point and then bundle together in one or two cars, depending on the number of hikers, to the chosen trailhead for that day.
During all these years we had hiked many trails in the area around Castle Rock State Park but did not hike this particular trail. On this day our group was small, only four hikers. At the start of the journey we were greeted by a mystery, an old VW Bug that must have skidded down from the highway above and stuck for all these years in a tree. Wheels were long gone, paints were faded but there was no mistaking the shape. After the perfunctory selfies and photographs, we proceeded on our hike, leaving the bug and its mystery to be solved by some other mystery blogger.
No more mysteries followed but the trail rewarded with us views of majestic oak groves as the trail meandered up and down the hills. Due to the orientation of the early
morning sun with respect to the hill we were on the shade for majority of the hike. We sent our silent thanks to the weather gods because a few sections where there were no shade, sun was brutal at the hilltop.
This new trail was a joy to hike. Elevation gain was about 400 ft, but we started at a high point of about 2500 ft. We made a loop of the trail, retracing only a few hundred feet of the of the trail at the end of the hike. Definitely a trail worth going back to. We could still see the remnants of wildflowers clinging to the side of the trail in many places. Surely there would be a bounty of wild flowers during spring.
A wild mushroom fulfilled our appetite of photographing wild flowers. Satisfied, we bid adieu to the trail with a promise to come back next spring.
To be continued.
©All photographs in this post were taken by the author. Readers are free to use with proper acknowledgement to the author.