It was 7.8 miles by the time we came back to our starting point. Beet red faces, hearts pounding away in our chests. Had we known it was twice as far as we were told we likely wouldn't have gone.
The trailhead at the back of Dinkey Creek is something Jim and I have been interested in for years. This was to be the year we would explore it. Dave, the volunteer ranger told us to take the trail rather than the road and that it was about two miles out and was a maintained trail with markers along the way.
We found the trailhead easy enough. Although it was hidden a bit. The first leg, straight up the side of the mountain on a rock covered path could have been the first sign to turn around and go back.
Or perhaps even the fact that before we even got there I ended up stuck in the middle of the creek straddled over a huge rock as we crossed to the other side and bent my knee backward (as much as you can do that) trying to get off of it.
Or maybe even when Jim and had a little spat because I thought he would have at least looked back to make sure I had made it across the creek.
But, we continued on the very strenuous trail. More perspiration dripping off of me than I want to talk about. Glancing around me hoping and praying that I wouldn't see a bear or mountain lion ready for its next meal.
There was no sign of life. Just us. Us and the pink markers that told us which way to go on this trek further and further back in the wilderness.
We finally stopped for a water break on what we thought was the top. We had a little trail mix and took a selfie. We felt pretty good even with all the hard work climbing up. And then there was a mile marker ... 1.5 miles is what it said. But according to the tracker on my phone, we'd already gone 2. We pressed on, out of breath, hot, thirsty, looking for that beautiful spot on the creek ... something that would make this all worthwhile.
And then, there it was! A gorgeous waterfall. I was pretty excited but there didn't seem
to be a way to get to it. We followed a few more pink flags thinking surely there was still something even more beautiful and finally got to the end of the trail and headed toward the little trickle of a creek that was at that spot. Not at all what we'd expected. We tried to be positive. Jim dropped a line in the creek, but no bites.
And so, we decided to start back. But not without trying to get to that waterfall and hopefully a nice pool to fish in.
We managed to make our way down the rocks, through a small crevice and then slid off the rock. It was an incredible site! So gorgeous! Well worth the hike. Jim fished, I took a few pictures but was so wiped out I didn't even use my tripod I had carried the whole way. I'd been hoping to get some long exposure shots.
We were both a bit anxious to start the trek back knowing we had our work cut out for us. There was no way we could climb back up where we came down, so we headed for the low point on that massive rock.
We felt as though we were very close to the same spot we went down, but there were no pink flags. We found a red and black one and commented on the fact that we hadn't seen that color yet ... but went ahead anyway ... there was another red and black flag. We were on a trail, but then it ended. We kept seeing more red and black flags and thought it would lead us to our trail.
But it didn't.
We wandered and wasted precious energy. All the while thoughts of not finding our way out, being attacked by a bear and running out of energy and the small amount of water and snacks we brought for this little 2-mile hike flooded my head.
I told Jim we needed to backtrack and find our original trail. He wanted to push forward. We did. But only dead ends. Again, I told him we needed to turn around. We came to another dead end and a huge pile of some sort of animal droppings. He still didn't want to turn around, but I told him I was going to and I did. He followed me.
Thank goodness we found the beginning of that end of the trail!
We both began to thank God for leading us. We'd been praying the whole way! Everything was familiar once again! Jim asked if I had seen the bear droppings back where we were lost. My heart stopped! I had but thought it was from a horse.
He said He didn't want to mention it to me so as not to scare me. Finding the trail was my main focus, so I didn't even consider it could be bear scat. The rest of that difficult hike, all I could think about was where the bear was and the hope that it was sleeping in the middle of this hot July day.
Five hours later and we were finally crossing the creek and just about back to Jim's truck. I walked right through the water, splashed water all over my head and happily climbed our first little downhill trek back to Jim's truck. What a hike!
Would I do it again? I'd have to say no. It was beautiful but so long and hard.