Saturday, April 14, 2012
River Bluff Trail
Then I thought, why not? And once I'd packed too much stuff into all the many little pockets of my new pack, I went out to the River Bluff trail above Norris Dam. It's a loop trail; according to the sign, it's 3.2 miles long, but according to my map it's 2.7 miles. Since it only took me about 90 minutes to hike it today, and I was not exactly in a hurry, I'd guess my map is more accurate.
Last time I hiked the River Bluff Trail, a few years ago, it was a Sunday afternoon and Every. Single. Other. human being on the planet had decided to hike it. There must have been 300 people on that trail, seriously. It was horrible. There were giant family groups and little old ladies and babies and sweartogod nuns walking that trail. So I hadn't been back until today, but today when I arrived around 4:30pm mine was the only car in the little parking lot. Last time I had to park a quarter mile up the road (which should have clued me in).
I went to the right when the trail forked, knowing that that would take me up a steep climb to the top of the ridge, and knowing also that once I was at the top I would have a lovely stroll and it was pretty much all downhill after that, and the trail follows the river at the bottom of the ridge and it's nice and cool.
It was a lovely day, only around 75 degrees and sunny. Once I got to the top of the ridge, about the time I was thinking I'd like to rest for a few minutes and get a drink of water, there was a bench! So I sat down for a few minutes and had a drink.
I haven't had my camera very long and it kept flashing in shadowy areas even when I didn't want it to. I stopped for a few minutes and started punching buttons, and was pretty pleased to figure out not only how to turn off the flash, but also found that it has a time delay function so if I wanted to I could take a picture of myself. I am embarrassed to relate that I had just said, out loud, "Oh, cool, that's awesome!" to my camera when I realized a man and woman had caught up to me on the trail and had overheard me. I wanted to tell them that I don't ordinarily talk to myself out in the woods, but I just hiked on. They would have known I was lying anyway.
From the top of the ridge, where the main groundcover was ferns between huge old trees, the trail descended on steep switchbacks. The plants growing on either side of the trail became lusher and more numerous. Finally I reached the river, which is very low right now since it hasn't rained all week.
My pack worked just fine. My back still sweated, but not nearly as bad as with my old pack, and most of the sweat was because I'd forgotten to change shirts and was still wearing the "I'm too cheap to buy a con T-shirt so I gave blood to get this free one" T-shirt I got at DragonCon last year, which has a big screened design on the back.
My boots didn't bother my feet too much. I think they're getting broken in (the boots, not my feet). I also had trimmed my big toenails before I left so while I did get some boot bang, my nails don't feel like they've been driven back into my toes. No blisters or hot spots either.
<--just in case you weren't sure which way the trail went; hate for you to get lost or anything
So anyway, I had a good time and I'm not tired. I might go on a longer, more challenging dayhike in a week or two, maybe up to House Mountain or someplace where I haven't been in a long time. I like Clear Creek, but I like getting out on new trails occasionally too.
And now here are 42 pictures of my waterbottles.