High Country Pathway Hike

Over the break I was able to get out for a couple days and get some hiking in. Three of us headed north to hike a portion of the High Country Pathway. We hiked a portion called the Shingle Mills Pathway. The loop was only 10 miles so it was a rather short hike for two days.

Day 1:
We ended up not leaving home until Saturday morning... one side effect of hiking with a doc is that sometimes he is on call and can't break away when we would like. Saturday the weather man was predicting massive severe thunderstorms for the area we were going to be in so we headed out relativly early so that we could get to the trail head and underway. The plan was to get in about five miles and get camp setup before the rains hit and we were stuck in tents. So off we went. The trail is very well marked and well maintained. We were not even a mile down the trail when our other hiking companion jumped into the river... I am sure glad that her back is somewhat waterproof and that I packed her food in ziplock bags. No worries though, she was having a great time and plenty of time to dry off. A few miles in from the trail head is ranger station, if you hike the trail make sure you stop in and say hello, they are very nice people and it can get boring in there if you just show up and get water and leave without saying hello. The trail weaves it's way through an isolated state park and past an artisian well... that is some good water. Off again onto the trail were we started to feel some sprinkles... no problem it passed before it even really got started. Just after the state park there is an amazing site of a sink hole lake that is crystal clear and a great view, no swimming, fishing or camping by the lake so enjoy the veiw and move on. Just a little further is the half way point and where we camped for the night. It was a huge site for two tents but very nice and setback off the trail with a pumpable water source near by... well pumpable and drinkable but not really more than that. Nuba did enjoy an afternoon swim while we set up camp. Just about the time the tents were up the rain came... well at least for 15 minutes. That happened off and one for a couple of hours and that was it... not huge storms rolled through and the night was calm and clear by 9 .

Day 2:
The next morning after a leisure breakfast we packed up camp and headed off the trail. After a short walk through the woods we headed up the only major hill on this portion of the loop... and that was only 1000 feet rise. There is a nice overlook and if you search around a bit one can find the tie down points from an old antenna tower... you do have to search a bit though. Down the hill and across some flats where you then come across a great camp site... if the first one I stayed at was full then keep moving a couple more miles to this great one on the other side of the lake... wow it is right on the water and huge. Now I don't know if they officially sanction this as a site since it is not 100 feet from the water but it is nice. Moving on down the trail we passed some almost ripe berries... a couple more weeks and we would have had a great treat. Then through a clear cut area where one can see the devistation that clear cutting does even on a small scale. Back into the the woods and past Ford lake... not much to say there. If you are on the 10 mile loop don't turn off here... take my word for it you want to keep going. After pushing on to find a place for lunch we came right along side the river and found a great little site right on a bend in the river. It had great shade and soothing water flowing, what a great place for lunch. The river is only about 8 inches deep the entire width of the river so kick of the boots and roll up the pant legs and get in. Off down the trail for the last mile or so... it doesn't looks like this portion is hiked that muched, it is almost over grown but the trail is still very visable and passable. There is one long stretch of boardwalk. Right at the end you push through an tall grown section of brush and pop right out onto the road... get your dog on a leash before you get there so you don't have any accidents. It was a great hike and would make a nice hike for beginners or anyone looking for an easy 10 miles.

Happy trails.

For what it's worth.

Update: Pictures from the hike.

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