Tuesday, March 15, 2005

OP to NW and back

For the past two days, I have been laying (or lying) in bed with some sort of chest/nose sickness. I've kept myself isolated from the rest of the house, but it didn't see to help as someone else has come down with it. I found that what I miss most about BF is his taking care of me when I am sick. Anyway, I vowed that the sickness wasn't going to ruin my entire 4 day weekend and got up this morning with the intention of hiking. I awoke with the first toilet flush of course, checked the weather via the window, and sat at the computer for a while. I figured I would let my lungs and nose adjust to sitting upright for a while before deciding to hike. All went well and by 930 A.M. I was out the door and headed up the O.P. trail for the N.W. trail. I figured since I would have some creek (pronounce that are crick) crossings that I would slap the Tevas (those are sandals) on the tender boot cladded feet for a change. Let me just tell you that the sand here is not my usual sand of Utah, which is warm and soft on the feet. The sand here is more like gravel. By the end of the 10.5 mile hike, my footsies were hurting. I guess I should have eased into the sandal hiking with a shorter hike, but oh well. Live and learn as always.

The hike as I said was 10.5 miles. 7.0 was the N.W. trail and it was rated as strenuous. The O.P. trail is one of two trails in the park that doesn't have a bit of uphill and I love it. I left the house and started walking to the trailhead. The air was crisp and cool. Not the kind of cool that chills the bones, but that soothes the skin and awakens you with each breath that you take. And I knew the sun would soon steal away the chill.

The first view besides the regular beauty was a bald eagle soaring effortlessly down the trail toward the highway. I was in a world of my own when I caught the white head out of the corner of my eye and as it soared in silence above me, it soared loudly through my veins. Ah, to be an eagle.

As I type this, I realize I should start taking photos of certain items that would help the story along. Like I should have taken the photo of the big log that I was cautiously climbing down when I slipped on the moss, landed hard on my ass, and slid off into the water onto my feet. I hit my already damaged shin pretty good and put a nice bruise and small cut on it. I think this is where I also cut open my toe, but wouldn't realize that for another two hours when I looked down and saw the blood trickling from it.

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These are my favorite flowers although I have no idea what they are called. They are so bright and depending on the light and age, they are sometimes yellow and orange or just orange or just yellow. They are quite beauteous. There are a couple of things I don't like about this park--the ever talk about ticks and poison oak. I am so damn nervous of getting one that I am constantly worrying about them. Every time a bush touches me I freak out and I am constantly searching my body for ticks. One again, I didn't find either today. However, if you were hiking with me you would have laughed hard when some sort of lizard ran across my foot and my reaction to its attacking me.

I watched a gopher snake commit suicide by silvering into the rapid of the creek and disappearing. And I watched two red-tail hawk courting each other in the sky. Remember how I said the trail was rated strenuous. Well, up to this point I didn't think it was because it was relatively flat.

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But right after this photo, the uphill started and the strenuous rating kicked in. I saw one other person on the N.W. trail and he was surprised to see me as well. Mostly, I walked in silence with the flowers, lizards, birds, and butterflies.

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I call this photo the Yellow Flower Path. As I believe I have said in the past, the wildflowers are in bloom and I wish I could capture the true colors that surround me while out with the nature Gods. I think it was about here that I realized the toe was trickling blood. Upon reaching the Ranger Station on the West side, I stopped to pet Lucky the chocolate lab and then to the Ranger Station to fix up the toe. The hike back was going to be 3.3 miles if I went through the caves and so that is what I had planned to do. Spelunking it was. Flashlight required or headlamp. I pulled out the flashlight today and went through with no problem. Except I remember the water being a little warmer last time I went through them and the waterfall flowing with much more water. But it was peaceful to be alone in the darkness with the only sound my beating heart and the water falling around me. I left the caves and headed back on the OP trail and started seeing a few more souls. By this time, my feet were screaming STUPID at me and my chest was starting to feel like may be 10.5 miles was a little much after laying in bed sick for two days. As I type this, the coughing isn't subsiding and actually has started getting worse. Thank goodness others have been sick in the house as they have good drugs to hand over to help me. Check out the rest of the photos: Morephotos

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