A return to Duffy Lake!


Sunday, 05-June-2022

My hike started with a good deed.

I know, right? Hella good way to start some time in the woods, yeah? Build up that karma, and get a little bit of a workout at the same time? Sign me up!

You see, dear reader, there was a tree blocking the road to the trailhead. Well… sort of blocking the road. The road was a loop, so… you could just go around, I guess. But who wants to go around? Not me! I’m an American, and I drive where I want!

I parked, I saw the tree, I pulled out my trusty hatchet from my trusty emergency stash in the trunk, and I used my trusty hands to trustily hack the tree apart. Great initial success!

After using the word “trusty” way too many times, I was on my way into the woods.

This seems to be a theme, in my blog, that I mention how it’s not really viable to write a blog about hiking. That it’s just walking, and that I can’t quite describe the feeling of being in the woods in a technological format. Maybe I should just write one post summarizing what it’s like to hike, and then link it to hiking posts?

I dono, we’ll see how I feel.

On this hike, I felt good. I felt strong, I felt calm(ish), and I enjoyed the weather. We were on the cusp between winter and summer, with quite a bit of snow on the ground but with warm breezes and long days shining bright light through the canopy.

I love hiking in the Pacific Northwest – the moss on the trees, and the hanging vegetation it’s not quite as verdant as West Virginia, but it’s just a different type of alive. It’s beautiful.

I hiked, traversing from dirt to mud to snow and back again quite a few times. As I gained elevation though, the snow began winning out in the land-grab, and soon enough I was in a world of melting out snow. Bridges were non-existent, and the trail was on the verge of vanishing in the snow. Trail markers seemed to be absent, and frankly I couldn’t quite remember if they’d even been there the last time I was at Duffy…

I turned around, once the trail was fully lost at a river crossing.

If it was critical, I’m sure I could have found a safe crossing… there were quite a few options, though none had an obvious boot path leading through them. Some seemed more sketchy than others, but there were a few that could probably have supported my weight…

It wasn’t worth the risk, by any stretch of the imagination.

I still remember crashing through the snow on the trail to Elk Meadows, and I had no desire to recreate that “adventure” again, regardless of how sure I was of my safety. Duffy is pretty, sure, but remember the rule of the backcountry – “The mountains don’t care about you”.

I turned around, and headed home.

Through the rain and the sun, I drove back – happy in my hike, and absolutely content in how far I’d made it.

One response »

  1. Wow, what a good descriptionof what it “feels like” being in the woods – Excellent Writing !!!
    …I couldn’t help but notice the clearing of a tree accross the path bit… Love it especially because we shared that experiencehere in Alpine also – good neighbors do those things !!!
    Love, Dad

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