I didn’t sleep exceptionally well. One reason was the rocks under my tent. Another was that my bladder was about to explode. But it was cold outside and I was convinced that if I waited long enough, the uncomfortable sensation would eventually go away. I was wrong and eventually went outside. After that I slept remarkably better until I was awoken in the early morning light to the sound of my tent shaking violently. Fortunately it was Ian, not a bear. It was time to get this party started!
Like any other day, the first priority was making a cup of coffee, which in this case was some special cinnamon Don Francisco, courtesy of my friend Blake. Yum. My method for brewing coffee on the trail is incredibly clunky but it works (barely) and doesn’t taste too much like dirt. We then cooked some freeze dried eggs that I had been looking forward to for weeks….a let down of epic proportions. But it was a hot breakfast in the mountains and the mosquitoes weren’t out yet, so really, what’s there to complain about?
Without the weight of our camping supplies, our packs felt remarkably light and we seemed to be zipping across the landscape towards the incline at the base of the mountain. Of course I was still carrying my large and very heavy camera. Oh well, I have learned that if I want good photos, there is no substitute for that camera. It was about 5 miles to the summit (one way) and we had to cross a number of streams, pass a few lakes, and cross a small basin before starting the steep part of the ascent.
After passing the last lake, we left the trail and started hiking up and across a meadow of sorts, following a drainage that was cascading melting snow, feeding the numerous lakes below. Then we found this skull. Neither of us being hunters, we really didn’t know what it belonged to but our guess was an Elk perhaps. Hopefully we would fare better in this place than this animal! We were now having to cross more and more patches of snow. At first it was a novelty, seeing snow in August. But eventually the reality set in that hiking across old, crusty snow is really not that much fun.
And here is the final part of the approach leading up to the incline. There is no official trail to the summit, but our route was to aim for the low gap in the saddle, then find the fairly narrow route that can be climbed all the way up the southwest slope to the summit. It’s the only route that does not require technical gear, so it was important that we find the correct route and stay on it. It was certainly not as much snow as our climb up South Sister in Oregon several years ago, but it was enough.
I was trying to find a route to avoid as much of the snow as possible. Hiking across the wide expanses of snow was exhausting, trying to keep from slipping. And it was giving me a bit of vertigo so I just tried to keep my head down and only look forward. Maybe it was the altitude, maybe it was the steep incline, or maybe it was the repeating pattern on the snow. Maybe it was the thought of slipping and sliding all the way back down to the lake! At least I knew the upper portion of the climb would be free of snow.
The hike was getting steep and I noticed a group of 3 guys up ahead of us. Just below the saddle I heard one of the guys tell his friends that he was done. He said the steep snow field was giving him vertigo and he didn’t think he could go any further. I was secretly feeling the same way but was too stubborn to admit it, even to myself. The thought of returning home and telling stories about not reaching the summit was completely appalling, but I was questioning if we had in fact selected something beyond our skill.
We finally made it to the saddle and met up with what was left of the group ahead of us. We were all a bit perplexed looking at the next stage of the climb. There was no obvious path, just a wall of nearly vertical rocks. Ian and I watched while the two other guys (who seemed much more experienced than us) started climbing, searching, and eventually coming back down. They were convinced that was not the route. Were we really going to make it all this way, only to get stuck at this crux?
After resting, Ian and I decided to give it a shot. The four of us hiked up to the rock wall where a worn foot path abruptly ended and started climbing. Ian lead the way for a bit and found a good way up the rocks. It was extremely steep, but not particularly difficult climbing. At this point I was more concerned about getting back down. After a short distance the slope leveled out to a more manageable 45 degree angle or so.
Up the boulders we went. Up and up and up. It didn’t take long before the thin air started taking it’s toll on me. I was spent beyond all recognition, to the point that I almost didn’t care about the incredible view that was all around me. I was mostly looking down at the rocks, plotting my next move in 10 – 20 feet increments. Because that’s the most I could go without needing to rest.
One thing I did notice was a lake up in the mountains on the other side of this lake. It was still completely frozen. According to my map it was called Summer Ice Lake. A fitting name indeed for a body of water that remained a sheet of ice even into August.
When doing a long, physical activity I often get a soundtrack stuck in my head. At first it was “Long Way Down” by the Goo Goo Dolls. But eventually altitude sickness set in and I became so delirious that the only thing I could hear was Dory from the movie Finding Nemo. I pictured the little blue cartoon fish swimming circles around me, obnoxiously saying “Just keep
swimming climbing!” over and over and over and over. It was so annoying. I wasn’t sure what I wanted more…. to reach the summit, or to punch Dory in the face.
I was tired and extremely nauseous. The top was close, but I had absolutely nothing left. This entire stretch of the climb accounted for less than 1/2 of a mile, but it took us 3 hours. Ian and I were separated by maybe 100′ of distance and the wind was howling. We had no energy to yell, but we occasionally waved, if for no other reason than to indicate to each other that we were still somewhat alive and pressing on.
All of a sudden I noticed a row of rocks directly above me with blue sky behind them. It had to be the top. I climbed up to the ridge, the continental divide, and slowly (and carefully) made my way over to what appeared to be the high point. The actual high point was a pedestal shaped rock. I thought about climbing on top of it, but the entire summit ridge was terrifically exposed, a giant cliff on the back side, along with a 40 mph wind blowing in the direction of the large glacier field that lay a few thousand feet below.
I felt absolutely miserable so I sat on a rock and waited a few minutes as Ian made his way across the narrow ledge to the summit. We had both made it to the top so we hi-5’d and sat down for lunch. Normally, this is my favorite part of the trip. Enjoying lunch on top of the world. But today I was too sick to eat anything, though I tried to choke down some crackers, hoping maybe it would make me feel better. It did not.
I hoped that if I rested for awhile, my nausea would improve but it didn’t, so eventually I reluctantly stood up and started back down. The steep stretch above the saddle that had taken 3 hours to climb only took about 30 minutes to descend. And miraculously I suddenly felt better as we reached the top of the snow field. We sat and talked to 3 guys from Idaho for awhile and eventually decided to carry on.
All of that snow that we slowly climbed earlier in the morning now looked like a suitable slide. So we sat down and went for it, making it a considerable distance towards the bottom and expending almost no energy in the process. Our pants were soaked and our boots were full of snow but it was so worth it!
As we descended the mountain and started a fairly casual stroll through the basin I was feeling emotionally overwhelmed. The pain and fatigue of the upward climb was in the past. My altitude sickness was all but gone and we were riding high with the feeling of a successful summit. As we wandered through a valley so incredibly beautiful that I felt unworthy to even see it, I just simply could not contain myself. We stood there looking around, alone in this incredible place. THIS…this is why we came here, I told him.
Once we were off the snow slope, the hiking was pretty easy. But we were still tired, and not particularly in a hurry to leave this place. So we stopped a lot and soaked in the scene.
We weren’t following a trail, just wandering past the lakes, over the boulders and ridges, generally heading in the direction of our camp. The sun was getting low and I was starving, but it was difficult to force myself to speed through this spectacular landscape. Realistically I may never see this place again so I wanted to enjoy it as much as possible.
At long last we reached the shores of our lake. This side of the lake had a really pretty sand beach. It was good to be back near camp, except for the fact that the mosquitoes were still there, and apparently as hungry as I was.
I immediately started making dinner when we arrived back at camp. It was a simple bowl of ramen but it was a hot meal and at the time it seemed like the most delicious dish I’d ever eaten. It was kind of like the scene from the movie “What About Bob”, where Bob is eating the corn.
Being the cheapskate that I am, I thought it would be a good idea to save a few dollars and take a plastic fork. Until it broke. And not only did it break, but it broke in favor of right handed use, so the only way I could get stuff from the bottom of the cup was to eat with my right hand. Sigh. Such is the persecuted life of a leftie.
The mountain that looked impossible turned out to be difficult, but not impossible. It took us 12 1/2 hours to reach the summit and get back to camp, but we did it. We then sat and watched the last of the days light glowing on the mountain while sipping on whiskey and swatting at mosquitoes.
The next morning we got up, had coffee and breakfast, then loaded our packs back up and hiked the 12 miles back to the car. We stopped for a late lunch at the Wind River Brewing Company, a rather nice place in a tiny town that seemed like an outpost in one of the most sparsely populated regions of the lower 48. We could barely walk, so we sat in the restaurant for a few hours, ate a lot, and then made our way back to Salt Lake City for our flight home the next morning!
My college roommate and I have a kind of ‘tradition’ where we climb a mountain or do some kind of wilderness activity, generally every other year or so. Even after we’ve both married and had families, our wives have continued to be supportive of our occasional adventures so we’ve managed to keep it going. Usually we’ll fly to another part of the country, though sometimes we opt to enjoy some of the scenic wilderness here in Missouri. This time we decided on Wyoming, a state with the distinction of being America’s least populated state.
The mountain we selected was a remote peak in Wyoming’s Wind River Range. It was a 35 mile round trip hike to the summit. The plan was to hike about 12 miles and setup “base camp”, then climb to the summit on the second day and return to camp. Then we would hike back out on the third day. We were hiking and sleeping in grizzly country, so we had to take some extra precautions, like storing our food in “bear cans”, carrying bear spray, and I also carried a gun for good measure.
The trail started out as a gentle climb through a forest of mostly spruce and lodgepole pine. Being a tree nerd, I always enjoy the sights and smells of hiking in a coniferous forest and seeing species of trees that aren’t particularly common here in Missouri, especially the Whitebark Pine, a species I had never seen before. I recognized it as soon as I saw one – basically it looks somewhat like our Eastern White Pine, but with white bark similar to a Paper Birch. As the trail climbed, we started encountering lots of very large boulders and slabs of rock, only a hint of the rocky terrain that was still to come.
The first few miles seemed to go by quickly, and then we arrived at this overlook. It provided our first good view of the area in which we were ultimately headed. It looked SO FAR AWAY, and the terrain was a maze of ups and downs that was not going to be easy. Our eventual goal, the summit of the broad dome shaped mountain towards the right side of the photo was still about 13 miles away.
We stopped for a short lunch break, then carried on. About 6 miles in, we started passing ponds and lakes. Some of them reminded me of the ponds at Acadia National Park, while others were more similar to those found in Rocky Mountain. The trail was not a typical mountain approach that basically climbs the whole way. We climbed up, then down, then back up. It was exhausting!
We crossed this mountain stream by walking across a wobbly log. This, along with about a million other points along the trail would have been a nice place to stop and hang out, throw rocks in the water, listen and watch he cascades above and below, but we had so much distance still to go!
We reached this lake, the largest of the many lakes we would pass, and started feeling like we were getting close to our stopping point for the day. Our feet were starting to blister and our steps were getting slower. The scenery was indeed spectacular and the hike up to this point would have been an amazing hike in it’s own right, but we quickly passed by these lakes.
The same lake. It was much larger than it looked on the map! As much as I really wanted to take off my extremely heavy backpack and nap on these rocks by the sparkling lake, we had to keep going. I knew the place we would be staying would be equally beautiful and the sooner we got there, the longer I could completely relax and enjoy the remainder of the afternoon. We only had to climb over one more pass, after which we would descend into the basin containing the lake where we planned to camp.
After 8 hours of hiking, we climbed up and over a snow covered pass and were greeted to this sight. At last, the lake where we planned to camp lay before us with a stunning backdrop of the jagged peaks along the continental divide. “I have finally done it”, I thought to myself. “I’ve found the most beautiful place on Earth.”. It was a sight unlike anything I had ever seen before. There were simply no words that seemed powerful enough to describe this place.
We setup camp near a large flat slab of granite with an incredible view of the lake and in the shadow of the mountain we planned to climb the next day. The lake’s elevation was around 10,300′ so we hoped this would help us acclimate to the thin air before climbing even higher the next day.
We kept looking at this massive mountain, wondering how we would ever make it to the top. It looked impossibly steep, even though I had read that it was rated a non-technical class 3+, which is in line with some other mountains we have climbed.
There was in fact one thing about this place that was not so great – the mosquitoes. I have never seen a place so infested with mosquitoes. In the right light, the thick clouds of these biting insects were easily visible. Fortunately we brought bug spray, though it seemed to be of little consequence. I mostly coped by keeping everything covered except my face.
As the sun went down on our campsite, we climbed into our tents and went to sleep, partly because we were tired, but mostly to escape the mosquitoes. I laid there for awhile, looking at the mountain, wondering what we might be getting ourselves into the following day. We had already come a very long way, but the hardest part of our route was still ahead of us…
Dad got a kayak the other day and wanted to try it out. I am always looking for an excuse to kayak, so we took them out over the holiday weekend! As it turns out, this creek was also the first creek I floated with my kayak when I bought it about 10 years ago. I can’t believe it’s been that long!
We set out fairly early and were in the water by around 9 or so. What dad will learn is that if you go kayaking with me, you will probably end up in lots of pictures. I like the pattern of the darker rocks and lighter gravel on the bottom.
I like parts along the river like this where the water flows fast and is relatively shallow.
It was a very nice day to be floating down the creek!
I thought I would take a few minutes and share a few photos I’ve taken lately. The first is from a line of menacing, though not particularly damaging storms that approached the farm from the south a few weeks ago.
Next, a few I took last night of some storms approaching from the north. This time of year it’s much more typical for storms to approach from the north or northwest. I always enjoy that because it provides a better, more open view. Also, at night there is less light pollution to deal with in that direction.
I was hoping to frame some of the thousands of fireflies into the shot, but the conditions were making a particularly difficult subject even more so. I did manage to get a couple cool shots of the storm at least, even thought the fireflies aren’t very visible. Not my greatest work ever, but I’ll share them anyway.
I like the second shot because of the dramatic clouds that were pitch black in person, only made visible by a 15 second exposure. I find storm photography to be particularly fun, even though it is at times frustrating trying to manually focus in the dark and figure out which settings are working that night. Mainly it just gives me an excuse to stand out in the elements and nature comes roaring in, which is kind of an adrenaline rush.
And here’s a picture of my cute baby just for good measure…
Stephy suggested I do a hike or something for fathers day. So I took the opportunity to get in some “training” for an upcoming backpacking trip. After tossing around several ideas, I finally set out for Prairie State Park, armed with my 17-40mm wide angle lens and a backpack full of unnecessary baggage, just to help get me into shape!
I have been wanting to visit this park during the summer when wildflowers are in bloom, but the prairie is notoriously lacking in shade. Since I don’t particularly like being stranded in the sun on a hot day, I usually visit this state park only in fall or winter. But today was relatively cool (for June) so I thought it might be a good opportunity for a summer prairie hike!
I selected the Sandstone Trail, most of which I had never hiked before. It starts high on a ridge and gradually descends across the prairie towards a small stream. My first impression was how many birds call the prairie home. I didn’t actually see many of these birds because they were hiding out in the tall grass, but I could sure hear them! The sound of all the birds and the wind made for quite a peaceful experience. Various areas seemed to have different assortments of plants. I particularly liked these coneflowers.
The trail gets it’s name from the rocky sandstone areas found along the trail, particularly along the stream. Sandstone is not particularly common in Missouri, so I found the geology here interesting. Most of the prairie is rolling, but this spot has some small rock outcroppings and steeper slopes overlooking Drywood Creek, as well as some small groves of trees. It was a little more difficult to explore this spot in summer than it was in winter because of the tall grass and plants. But I still climbed around on some of the rocks.
Another bonus of hiking this time of year is the free treats. After crossing back through the stream and beginning the return loop towards the truck, the trail started to wind through a wooded/thicket area where I discovered lots and lots of blackberries just off the trail. Even though I wasn’t hungry I felt obligated to pick a handful, getting my arms torn to shreds in the process, and munching them as I walked. Blackberries are such a cruel fruit!
By the time I finished the 4.5 mile loop I had seen an owl, a turkey, lots of tadpoles, several quail, and numerous other birds that I could not identify. If you have never encountered quail, it is kind of a startling experience. Especially if it’s quiet and you are alone on the prairie!
Given my obsession with trees, some might find it unusual that I frequent this state park, known for it’s lack of trees. But there are times where the open space and sound of the wind is exactly what I need!
Today is a bittersweet day. I bought a new backpack. Sure, it’s always fun to get new things, but I have developed a bit of attachment to my old backpack. Not because it’s anything special, but because I have had it for so long and taken it so many places!
Back in my college days I kept losing pens and other small objects through the worn out bottom of my cheap JanSport pack. So mom made a trip to Springfield and took me to the mall to get a new one. The one I liked was a North Face Recon and while I thought it was absurd to spend $90 on a backpack, mom insisted it would hold up better than the walmart garbage I had been replacing every year up to that point. That was 16 years ago.
Really, the pack is still in pretty decent condition and I will still use it for things like atv riding, cave exploring, and kayaking. For long hikes, I’ve already started using a larger “backpacker” style pack that is much bigger but significantly more comfortable to carry because it’s supported at the waist instead of just the shoulders.
So in honor of this long lasting pack, I’ve dug out some old photos to remember and enjoy the many things I’ve done with it.
Not really an adventure, but back when it was fairly new, around 2002 this backpack was the victim of Ian’s granola vandalism in my bedroom. I retaliated by opening a bag of wheat seed and throwing it back into his room. Because what college student doesn’t keep a 10lb bag of wheat seed in their closet ready for just such an occasion? Ian didn’t talk to me for probably at least a week after that. Probably because that’s how long it took him to vacuum it all up.
I’ve carried the backpack through more airports than I can count, sometimes taking it as my only item. I’m not sure what airports these are here, but I think it’s Athens and Kansas City. The pack also came in handy as a pillow while sleeping under a bench at the Cairo airport.
So this pack has been through a lot! The new pack will be nice but I doubt it will ever totally replace my one!
The other day Emma asked me if we could do another “long” hike sometime soon. So naturally I started making arrangements for us to do a 10.2mi hike in a wilderness area where I have hiked and backpacked a few times before. When the day came, we left the house bright and early and drove to the trail.
The girls always want to stop and add rocks to these piles when they see them. Since this area is a “wilderness”, it is by law generally void of anything man made, which includes bridges and trail signage. So navigating the area can be a bit challenging at times and these rock piles can be useful to point out the spot where you are supposed to cross the stream.
After a couple miles, I saw a large “mountain” off to the side of the trail, which according to my topo map was called Pilot Knob. While most hills in the Ozarks are covered with trees, top to bottom, this was mostly open and exposed, so I asked Emma if she was interested in scrambling up to the top to check out the view. Of course she was, so we left the trail behind and up we went! Once we made it, the view was indeed pretty great. We sat on a rock ledge and rested, then checked out some cactus growing in the area before making our way down the other side and re-joining the trail.
We had lunch near a waterfall. Although I am generally pretty averse to being wet, I do make an exception when it’s a natural water feature on a warm day. So we stuck our heads into the icy waterfall.
The area was loaded with Dogwood trees and they were in full bloom. So we enjoyed seeing all of the white flowers throughout the forest.
Eventually we had to cross back through the stream from earlier in the morning, although in a different place. Emma decided to find a nice rock and lay with her head in the rippling water. We again decided to ditch the trail and find our own way by hiking in the creek. Which was a lot of fun until I slipped and fell into a pool of water and submerged my camera.
Eventually we reached this very cool spot with several waterfalls.
Again we decided we needed to stick our heads in the waterfall, even though it was freezing cold.
We enjoyed a snack on these big rocks. On a side note, I camped in my hammock in this exact spot a couple years ago.
And here she is, with just about a half mile to go. She is quite the hiker!
We spent the week between Christmas and New Years in the Smoky Mountains. It’s my second visit to the area so I’ve started to learn a lot more about this interesting and beautiful area. Like the Ozarks, the Smokies change dramatically with the seasons. I’ve only seen the Smokies in winter, so I am sure it would be interesting to see another season when the deciduous trees aren’t bare. Many people may not think of winter as a time to hike, but it’s actually one of my favorite times to be out. The cold doesn’t bother me and it’s usually very quiet and peaceful!
The weather was fairly nasty the first day, but as a photographer I love bad weather because it often makes for more interesting scenes.
The namesake “smoke” formed from the misty clouds that often drape the mountainsides.
The Smokies have an interesting range of forest types. The lowest elevations are a mix of Pine, Hemlock, and various hardwoods. The middle elevations are mostly hardwood and the highest elevations contain Spruce, Fir, and Birch, a forest type similar to what is found up in New England.
I took Emma on a long and challenging hike, almost 10 miles with some very significant elevation gain. It was a beautiful trail and Emma is quite the hiker.
Here we are at a beautiful overlook.
I love this photo hiking back in the later afternoon. It looks almost heavenly, which is often how I feel when hiking through the forest!
The girls soaking up some winter sun on a beautiful afternoon while hiking a short trail to a cabin.
The girls love to play around streams. Fortunately streams are not in short supply here!
One day I hiked a trail up to the top of a mountain. The first couple miles of the trail were along this cascading stream.
I enjoyed a nice lunch at this spot.
Sometimes I am reminded that Missouri, while not a national mecca for scenery and tourism, is actually quite a playground for those who appreciate nature. This past weekend was one of those experiences. We took a mini trip to a new state park called Echo Bluff, which is adjacent to the Ozark National Scenic Riverways. ONSR is a national park that many people do not realize is a national park in Missouri. The main attraction here is paddling opportunities on the Current River and it’s primary tributary, the Jacks Fork. But there are ample hiking opportunities within the park and other nearby state and federally owned lands as well. It’s an incredibly beautiful area.
What Missouri may lack in beaches and alpine mountain ranges, it makes up for with it’s springs, streams, and smaller scale scenic areas. Being an avid kayaker, I think Missouri is a fine place to call home considering I could spend a lifetime exploring waterways without ever leaving the state. The density and quality of our waterways is truly exceptional.
So back to my weekend trip. We started out by visiting Alley Spring Mill, one of those iconic Missouri landmarks that I have always wanted to visit.
A really great stream swiftly flowing through the park at Alley Mill.
The same stream… this would be such a great streak to kayak, though I am not sure if one is allow to put in at the mill.
Before we hiked the trail up to the actual mill, the girls enjoyed rolling down the hill to stretch their legs after the 3 1/2 hour drive!
Although I was hoping to get some kind of “postcard” shot of the mill, like so many others have done… the positioning was such that the afternoon sunlight reflects off the side in a really awful way. The only thing I can figure would be that it would need to be photographed either very early or very late in the day. Or when it’s overcast. Nevertheless, it’s a neat spot!
The trail loops around the pool that is impounded by the mill. The spring water makes for some beautiful blue water that is really set off by the colors of the fall foliage.
The actual spring – I am not sure how deep this is, but I would imagine at least a few hundred feet. It reminds me of the spring at Roaring River, which scuba divers have never found the end.
The girls had fun tossing leaves and sticks into this stream and watching them quickly float away.
Emma and Eily tried their hand at fishing in this really pretty stream near our cabin. This is a tributary of the Current River called Sinking Creek. I was really wishing I would have had my kayak! Small streams like this are my favorite to float.
Sinking Creek was so clear and blue that I had to tone down the photos because they looked manipulated. I enjoyed walked along this stream – and since it was 80 degrees it was nice wading as well!
We went on a hike to a feature called “Cave Spring”. I wasn’t sure what exactly to expect, but figured it would be some kind of cave with a spring in it. The trail there climbed up several high ridges and passed through some beautifully colored forest. Supposedly it’s an Oak/Pine/Hickory forest but what I saw was mostly Oak, Pine, Dogwood, and Maple. The dogwoods and maples really added to the color!
After a few miles the trail descended down a ridge to the bottom of a bluff along the Current River. The trail lead up to the opening of this cave… seriously how rad is that?! Emma loves caves so this was right up her alley. As it turns out, I had floated past this spot in my kayak once before but it was a crowded summer weekend and amidst all the drunk rednecks and cigarette smoke, I didn’t realize the awesomeness of this spot.
The afternoon sun was just barely shining back into the cave, providing some really awesome natural lighting effects! I am not sure how deep this water is, but it’s pretty deep! With a kayak, one can easily paddle from the river into the cave and back around the corner where it opens up into a dark, larger room with a giant pool where the water comes up from the ground. Using a flashlight, we could see a lot of fish hanging out in the pool, but couldn’t see the bottom.
This part of the trail was nice. Some very large Shortleaf Pine that smelled nice and some colorful oaks. A little ways down the trail we came upon a great overlook on the top of a tall bluff above the river.
Just some more fall colors as we made our way back down the ridge.
Although it’s nice to take a long journey to other places, sometimes it’s nice to stay close to home and appreciate the things we have right here in the Ozarks!
I haven’t blogged or posted any photography in what seems like forever! Life has been exceptionally busy the last few months, but mostly in a good way! Last Sunday I was able to set aside a few hours and drag my kayak down to the creek for a quiet solo trip down to Stones Corner. When I planned it I was really envisioning a cool fall day in the 60s with bright fall foliage but it seems summer just isn’t ready to go away just yet. Which was fine, it made the logistics of the trip much easier!
Fall is without a doubt my favorite season to be out on the water, or on a trail, or just out in general. I don’t often get to kayak in the fall so when I do I really enjoy it.
My usual put-in spot. The water is still pretty low even though it has rained recently.
This is one of the more scenic stretches of the river. Tall bluffs with a dense canopy over the creek. It’s right before the takeout point so it’s always a nice way to finish!
Just an ordinary spot along the river, but still pretty nonetheless!