Saturday, May 13, 2017
Lost Maples State Natural Area
warm, sunny, mid 80s
This was actually going to be an overnight, but I finished the hike much faster than anticipated and didn’t want to sit in the woods by myself for 7 hours until the sun set, so I bailed and drove home. The hike was still very pretty and well worth the 6 hour round trip drive.
I had a full pack, including the Marmot Limelight 3 person tent and Enlightened Equipment double quilt, despite being a solo trip. I had no choice, as I haven’t bought my solo shelter or quilt yet. All that said, my pack weight, including food and water was just under 25 pounds, so not too shabby.
I intended to hike the remainder of the trail that we hadn’t finished on our first overnight back in 2015. This meant doing a counter-clockwise loop on the west side of the park. There was a steep climb that got me to some good views. Unfortunately, they don’t believe in switchbacks in this park, so it’s basically just a straight up climb for a quarter mile on scree. I was winded, but the breeze up top was nice and I took a short break.
After a short walk through Mystic Canyon (which I will say is neither mystic, nor a real canyon), I got to the junction where I was to do another steep climb. There were three hikers at the junction who had just come from where I was headed. They told me horror stories of not only steep trail, but spiders everywhere as big as your hand. I was already thinking of skipping this section and their warnings made it an easy decision. Instead I headed to my intended campsite and passed some nice springs on the way.
When I arrived at Camping Area C it was just barely 2pm. There were several groups camped already and I wasn’t sure if they were still waiting to pack up from the night before or if they had gotten out earlier than me and set up. Either way, I didn’t feel like hanging around by myself all afternoon, especially when I was just about a mile from the trail head. So I continued on and headed back to the car.
However on the way I found a nice waterfall that I had to scramble down a small cliff to really see, but it was well worth it.