Friday, June 11, 2010

Five Ten Pound Bags of Potatoes Too Much

While we were at the Sinks Canyon State Park, we inquired about driving The Loop, a 26 mile gravel road that brings you around to the Red Canyon area and then back to Lander.  Unfortunately, just as the disappearing Popo Agie River didn't disappear that day, we were unable to drive The Loop since it was still closed due to snow.  Well, dang.  The ranger suggested the 1.5 mile walk to the Popo Agie Falls.  I turned to Denny questioningly, since 1.5 miles is a lot when you haven't had any exercise all winter.  He said "sure", so off we drove,out of the Sinks Canyon State Park and into the Shoshone National Forest to the Bruce's Bridge parking lot.

There are no signs for the trail, even though there is a paved path leading down towards a campground and another dirt trail that splits in two directions, so I stopped a lady and asked which one would lead to the falls.  She hesitantly pointed to one of the dirt trails so off we went, unsure if we were really headed in the proper direction.  Hopeful of seeing marmots or bear or big horned sheep, we walked the rock-studded path, craning our necks to see up the granite and sandstone cliffs, looking for critters and admiring the wildflowers.  The roaring Popo Agie River provided a loud running commentary as we walked.

Shortly after we started I turned to point something out to Denny and saw a rider behind us.  Even though we had yet to go far on the trail, I knew that this was the way to do it.

After walking and walking and walking on a path that steadily increased in slope and altitude, we started asking the few people returning from the falls, "is it much farther?".  They would smile sympathetically and say "yes".  Sigh.
At three places we had to scramble over rocks and tiptop across mud as the flooded river encroached upon the trail.  Here Denny threw a three foot piece of thick driftwood into the river where it immediately disappeared and never resurfaced.  This is not a place to slip and fall into the river.

After walking for an hour with no clue if we were even getting close to the falls, we stopped for our small picnic lunch that I had packed.  Sitting upon a large rock, we had this view looking up river.

The elevation and the long walk finally got to Denny who could go no further.  Although I was pretty pooped myself, I was bound and determined to get to the falls to get a photograph or two, since everyone returning from the falls said they were fabulous. As it turned out, we were only about a quarter of a mile away from the falls, but you couldn't see that because the trail piggy-backed upon itself for a while and then wound around the hillside to the falls.

And to be perfectly honest with you?  I was a little disappointed once I finally struggled up that last bit of path, because Denny and I have seen some pretty awesome waterfalls in our travels.  I guess I was expecting more fall, less cascades, which is what this falls appeared to be.  Can one become jaded by too much beauty?  Hmm.

So down I went to find Denny, although I was stopped by two different groups of folks heading up to the falls, asking if I was the lady in green whose husband was waiting down the trail.  It seems Denny asked them to check on me if they saw me.  Isn't he a sweetie?  And aren't we just adorable together?

While I may have been disappointed a tad in the falls, Mother Nature provided a wonderful sunset that night.

Oh, and that potato thing?  That's the fifty extra pounds I'm carrying and that's the image I held in my head as I was slowly walking up that 1.5 mile trail to the falls.  How much easier that walk would have been without those five 10 pound bags of potatoes.  That's my next project.


Linda in New Mexico said...

I love you guys. Your sense of adventure and the kindness that both of you extend to each other. How sweet is Denny? And with what you two have already seen and done, yeah I'd say that you could be jaded by having seen better and bigger. But now you can mark this cascade of your map too huh? Scenery is wonderful. Water looks scarey.
And as for beating Skippy on commenting....well it's okay that you let her win...let's see what kinda stuff I stir up now. hehehe.
vert word: suman...Janine might get upset but what's she gonna due, suman?

Linda in New Mexico said...

Congratulations Ms. won a book about fairies (it's small so maybe you won't have to throw something else out) tee hee. You came in third in the drawing. And I can't resist to have more winners. Woo Hoot for you.

The Token Liberal said...

What I discovered in North Carolina is that the distance given in these hikes does not translate to flat-land travel. 1.5 miles of hill/mountain is nothing like 1.5 miles in Ohio. :P

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