This has been our best year for hiking. As usual, we struggled to regain our breath after spending six months at sea level. So, we took quite a few walks and played pickle ball to build up our stamina, and it worked as we hiked the String Lake Trail, Grand View Trail, and finally the Phelps Lake Trail.
Of the four the Grand View trail was the hardest, but we finally succeeded, (twice)! Our friends Fred and Becky were getting ready to leave but we talked them into joining us on a hike of the Taggert Lake Loop. It’s a three-point-eight mile loop, with an elevation gain of about five hundred feet, (about the same as climbing Devils Tower, although the climb of the Tower is a real serious climb).
One year we encountered a bear on the Taggert Loop, and it almost ran over Fred. Now Fred was so busy taking pictures that he had no idea that the bear was close, until he lowered the camera and was face to face with a black bear. He stood up and the bear quickly took a detour around Fred.
Each fall on this hike we hear the elk bugling in September as they are in the middle of the rut. As I had my hearing aids repaired, I wanted to test them by listening for the elk. Leaving early, the hike is heavily used, we arrived at the trail head and got a parking spot! A good omen!
The first section of the trail is easy but once you cross the Taggert creek bridge it becomes steeper.
Fred and Becky passed us, but we did have to stop as much as previous years. In fact our stops were short and infrequent, and our friends did not have to wait as long for us. We realized all of our hiking had paid off and we reached Taggert Lake in our best time ever!
Crossing the bridge at the lake’s mouth we climbed further up, pausing for a quick picture of Renita and I surrounded by fall foliage, (thanks Becky).
At the apex of the hike the others could hear the elk bugling and finally I was able to hear the courtship calls and challenges.
To be able to hear again is an indescribable joy, and I wish some of my other family and friends would get their hearing tested as they are missing so much, (Ok C I will get off the soapbox). We headed down the trial and reached the place where Fred had his close encounter, but no bear. There were not any ripe berries or choke cherries and we did not see any for the rest of the hike.
We ate lunch and Becky discovered a plant called stink wart. It has lots of seed pods that attach to your, clothing and Renita and Becky took a while to pick all of the seeds off her clothing. It always neat to learn a new plant, especially if you are not the victim.
The trail flattened out and a number of other hikers passed us, but it didn’t matter as we were not in any competition, (we were all over seventy years old). Tired and sore we reached the parking lot! Our philosophy is that there is a blessing in every day, (sometimes it hard to see), but not this day!
Fred and Becky had to leave but we stayed and went lookin for bears. We didn't find any bears but a steller jay posed after alertng us with his chatter! If you have never seen a steller jay they are larger than a blue jay and even more colorful than my picture. Clear skies.