So much to tell, where to begin! I had a really great time for starters. Lost Maples is gorgeous at any time of year and I always feel so happy when I'm there. Linda (a new hiking partner) and I couldn't be more pleased with how kind mother nature was to us.
Linda and I met online at backpacker magazine forums and have been talking for a while now about going hiking or camping. We haven't been able to get together until this weekend though because of schedules conflicting, but finally we got to go backpacking.
It was a great experience. It turns out we have a lot in common and she is super nice. Along with us were her two fabulous dogs Mercedes and Angel. They are a mixed breed with Malamute, Wolf, and I think some kind of shepherd? Anyway I fell in love with both dogs immediately and it was mutual.
We left Saturday morning from her place around 10:30 and had a wonderful drive to the park. The scenery is always so great out that way. I'm not sure what time we arrived at the park, but I think it was around 2pm. We decided to camp at site "G" since "H" was already being used, but found it to be quite to our liking. We took the West trail to the Mystic Canyon trail to get to our site. It was a 2.5 mile walk but we were excited to get to our site and set up.
The dogs LOVED the trail and all along mystic canyon there was crystal clear water in small watering holes all along the stream beds. Linda had never been in that part of the park and she was loving the scenery and smells. It was a fabulous walk.
When we arrived in our camp site and picked out our spots we unpacked and slowly set up camp. We compared all our gear and talked shop about how to save weight, etc... Eventually I got the stove going and we boiled some water for our dinner. The dogs were in heaven and I enjoyed playing with them in camp and doting lots of attention on them.
Linda didn't sleep in a tent that night. She put her tarp on the ground and slept on top of it in a sleeping bag of course. She had a goose down jacket on too. The night got cold but I don't know how cold. She said she was very comfortable. Of course her dogs stayed curled up by her the whole night despite any strange noises. What good dogs!
I slept in my tent as usual but didn't bother putting the fly on. I got a good dose of night sky too as we lay there in the dark talking back and forth after turning in for the night. The weather was great and I was very happy to be where I was. I drifted off eventually to thoughts of the next day and how great it was going to be to get on the trails and soak it all in.
On Sunday morning I woke up sometime before dawn, had to pee, then fell back asleep until probably about 7ish. It was a terrific morning! We had coffee and took our sweet time packing up. Neither one of us was in any hurry at all...we had a WHOLE day ahead of us. We picked our route, packed up, purified some water, and got back on the trail.
We stopped a lot to look at stuff and also took one good long break...about 45 minutes or so. Linda and I chatted while I hunted for cool rocks. The dogs swam and frolicked about in a clear pool next to us. It was such a pretty place we didn't want to leave it! Finally we got our packs back on and moved onward.
After almost 9 miles of hiking we called it a day. Both of us were a little sore and tired. But the drive home was peaceful and I felt totally mellow. Lost Maples treated me right again. It's a keeper for sure. Enjoy the pictures!
Mercedes enjoys a stick in camp
Linda and Angel
Angel is so cute
Here is Angel looking all wolfy
getting ready for dinner
Coyote poop, you can see what appears to be boar's fur in it
part of the trail
More trail...so gorgeous out!
Me skirting around an overhang on a moss laden rock
To get to this! A cave mouth...
Dogs enjoying the water
From atop the ridge
Dogs were getting tired but loving it all the same!