Monday, May 10, 2010

Lost In The Crowd at Piney River Pocket Wilderness

On April 28th our Wednesday group took 22 hiking enthusiasts to explore 10 miles of this Pocket Wilderness. A few guys followed Bob up to the firetower while the car shuttle got in place and Debbie led a few of the ladies up the river. The ladies made it back in time to meet Che with the shuttle folks and we started out on the trail across from the picnic area on Shut-in Gap Road. It was an easy, gradual climb, carefully making our way over some slippery rocks. Somewhere along the way, Bob's group rejoined us, and we made it to a pretty area by the river with a suspension bridge (I think it was Piney River Bridge!). We regrouped, took a couple of photo's and got across the river. From here, it was a nice hike around the river until we took our lunch at a beautiful scenic spot on the river. Then it was every man/woman for him/herself!

Deb knew of a picturesque place at the back of a small waterfall that a few of us went to see. We were rewarded with viewing a Yellow Ladyslipper. This little spot was like a hidden forest haven, water falling gently over rocks, hardwoods shading the trail, gay wings blooming- it was worth the side trip. We met Che, Deb, Bob, Gary, and Gwen on the trail coming out, the others having went on out the main trail. The trail chronicler then lost her group- not exactly a bad thing as time alone in the woods is a treasure. I did see Fire Pink for the first time this year.

The trail was almost always near the sound of water, and the river was absolutely beautiful. At times it churned in a white froth and at times it meandered in a lazy flow, bumping over rocks in the water. Then there were gorgeous trees, ferns, a couple more bridges, and just a fantastic time scenic time on the trail.  I stopped and waited at the spur to Spider Den, hoping Che's group would get there and I could follow them down, but when they didn't show up after ten or so minutes, I continued on the trail. After a while, I ran into Celia and then John came up behind. I found out he had been down into Spider Den. We kept along the river for while before the trail turned back up on the ridge. It up seemed too short a time but we came out to the end and met up with Richard, Wayne, Gail, and Linda and others already waiting. After waiting for the rest of group, Richard et al decided they could leave and so they did. Another hour went by when finally we were all together again. Supposedly, we all made it off the mountain!

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