On Saturday the weather was gorgeous and I drove up to River Bend Park and hiked from there down to Great Falls, then south a few more miles along the river to Difficult Run, then looped around back to Great Falls and back up the river to my car. About 10 miles total, but not a hard hike, barely any elevation gain.
The views are great, though, hiking all along the river, especially south of Great Falls where you do some bouldering and can look down on Mather Gorge. Plenty of people were out, which was kind of annoying, but was the point of going there since I was solo and wanted to make sure someone would be on the trails besides me. Just in case. I've been lost out in the woods on solo hikes before and that is NOT FUN!!!
Once I got lost out at Bull Run mountain and ended up crashing around in the forest for a couple of hours before I finally found a dirt road that seemed to lead nowhere. At last a woman drove by and asked me if I was lost. Yes. She said hikers get lost all the time out there and she pesters the national park all the time to blaze the trails better. I thought I was following some trail markings but it turns out I was following someone's property line! Eek. Then she told me if I'm alone out there I should carry a big stick because there are wild dogs!! When she dropped me off and told me to head straight through the forest and drove away, I heard a sound in the leaves running near me and about shit myself. It was a deer. I'll never leave a clear trail again if I'm alone!
Yesterday I had my new GPS toy my dad gave me, it's a little Garmin Gecko. It was pretty fun, it tracks your route for you. I had that and my Camelbak and hiking boots that Adam gave me for Christmas and was feeling like a real pro hehe.
It's definitely springtime. There were these little purple flowers blooming everywhere along some parts of the trail. This is north of Great Falls.
It was so pretty and continued on like this for about a mile!! Just a blanket of purple flowers on either side of the trail. The sun had disappeared behind some clouds by this point, this was at the end of my hike. These pics are backwards from how they were taken!!
As I was stopping to peer at this curious sight and take a pic, a hiker came up behind me to explain that these are silkworms. They build these little nests and grow into beefy caterpillars and then when all the leaves are fully grown they come out and eat them all - they are a real scourge and the park service tries to prevent them from eating the leaves by putting sticky bands around the tree branches. Ew.
It's hard to see in this pic, but there were purple trees popping out in some places in the forest too. A real easter palette - eager baby-green leaves budding all over the trees and some purples thrown in for color contrast! Plus the purple on the ground...
Great Falls looks bigger in person.
I wasn't on the trail five minutes before I saw three deer! Can you spot them? Two babies and a momma! When they first saw me they put their white puffs of tails in the air and sprang off down the stream. Then their curiosity got the better of them and they stood still while I snapped some pics. They were pretty close to me, maybe twenty feet and stared at me wide-eyed with perky ears to get their pictures taken!
They are harder to see in this picture, they're right in the middle.
I just talked to Adam. He is doing well, he seems to be much better this time than last time he was out there in the desert. He said his office is in a plywood box. !!