On Saturday we started at the Bear Gulch day use area, went up Condor Gulch Trail, and took a right turn onto High Peaks Trail which took us back down to Bench Trail and a shuttle bus.
Sunday morning I was a bit stiff, but amazingly not totally incapacitated!
Looking at the trail map, I thought it would be nice to take it easy and just do the Moses Spring - Bear Gulch Cave - Rim Trail loop. It was described as "easy" and "suitable for small children." Just about the level I felt up to.
It started with a very peaceful forest trail along a creek.
A nice place for a picnic.
It went thru caves that were created by large rocks that had fallen together eons ago
This rock is at the exit area of the cave. Notice the stairs going up under it.
It was a BIG rock!
At the top of the trail there was a very peaceful reservoir. There were several families with small children resting there.
The weather was just about perfect.
We continued onto the Rim Trail which was interesting and not too challenging. When we came to the cut off that went back to the Day Use Area, our legs had been stretched and we were not quite ready to call it a day.
What the heck. Why not go up High Peaks Trail as far as Scout Peak, and then decide?
If the part of the trail described as "Steep and Narrow" looked too hard, we could try Juniper Canyon Trail or we could always come back down the way we'd come.
So up we went. I whimpered a few times on this part, but Craig kept encouraging me and suggested I eat an energy bar. It helped a little. Peanut butter to the rescue!
There were three condors soaring high above.
The air was crisp and clear.
I wished for a helicopter.
There was another couple there that had some experience with the trails. They told us that Juniper was very hard, and that although the next section of High Peaks was narrow, there were handrails. It was also their opinion that going back down the way we had come was the hardest option.
Besides, the next leg of the trail was less than a mile.
Yeah ... Sure ... Longest "less than a mile" I have ever hiked!
There were handrails as promised.
Both going up...
... And down.
I found it easier to go down backwards, clutching the railing as I placed each foot into the steps carved into the side of the rock. Although the railing felt very solid, it was also very hot from the sun and felt like a frying pan fresh out of a campfire.
But, the view was worth it!
It felt like we could see what the birds see as they soar high above.
We were both glad to see the turn off for Condor Canyon Trail. What started as an easy day turned into a six hour hike.
Will I ever do it again? NO!
Will I try another equally strenuous hike in some other place? YOU BETCHA!
I haven't felt this great, or this sore, since I skied a double black diamond called "The Wall."
I can do it!