April 22, 2011
This day being Friday, it is our last day in the park. So, our plans were to mostly just be walking around. Since there are 3 different trails to the East of the main canyon, we decided to mostly concentrate on the one that goes through the little canyon that parallels the main canyon. In doing so, we could see on the park trail map that we would actually be touching parts of all three of those trails.
Since it would be a longer hike, Jo decided to take her walking poles along. We bought two pair before our 2009 trip to Pagosa Springs, Colorado. It was surprising that they really do help one with hiking. For myself, I would be carrying my camera and a canteen. Jo had loaned out her Nikon D90 to a friend at church who does weddings.
This friend has found that some churches don’t allow photographers to use a flash inside their buildings. So, our friend needs to borrow a camera that has a better capability of getting good images without flash. She had been advised to try to find a D90 and she first asked me what model mine was. When I told her it was a D300, she was hesitant to ask to borrow it. So we mentioned that Jo had a D90 and that she was free to use it if she wanted to for the wedding.
After using the D90, she returned it and said that it worked perfectly for what she needed. So, I see a new camera for our friend at some time. There are few differences between a D90 and a D300, other than price and construction. But, we think our friend wants to get something even better than a D90. The camera companies are always upgrading their models, so she will have a good opportunity to find a good one.
Sorry for branching off to another topic, but our hike was pretty uneventful. We ended up walking quite a while and for quite a distance, especially considering the switch-backs in the hiking trails. They were pretty well marked with different colored plastic strips that indicated which trail one was on. In several places, two trails are together and in one short distance, all three were together.
It was good that we took the canteen, but later I was to find that I wished I had brought a couple of other items. It was pretty warm out and, being down in a canyon with a lot of trees, there wasn’t a lot of wind or breezes. So, we had to stop occasionally to allow Jo to stand in the shade of a tree, and hopefully, in a breeze. That process along with me stopping to take pictures now and then caused our hike to last longer.
I can’t even remember how long we walked, as I was too involved with looking for shade, breezes and subjects for photographing. It was all terrain as far as the photography because we saw no other creatures other than birds and an occasional squirrel.
And then, we just ran out of trail markers. We had been following one color and then it just stopped. Over to our left was a set of steps to take one up on the top of the rock walls for rappelling, to our right was a small trail that I followed for a while that led nowhere, and to our front was a fairly steep slope to descend. I was hoping for some route that would be easier for to “older” folks to use. The slope in front of us looked like a route requiring a lot of “butt-sliding” to get to the bottom. So, I had Jo wait while I checked it out.
To my surprise, I found steps only big enough for one foot that would lead us down. I made Jo turn around and come down backwards while I helped her along. That is when the thought came to me that we should have brought two other items, both of which were in the coach. One was a first-aid kit and the other was rope about 100 feet long. With the first-aid kit, I wouldn’t have worried about her cutting herself. With the rope, I could have tied it off to a tree and given her something substantial to help her descend the slope.
Oh, well. Live and learn. Even the old folks don’t think of everything. Once down and walking up the road, we saw an ambulance with three attendants about 100 yards away. When we got to them and engaged them in conversation, they told us that on busy weekends, they try to spend time in the canyon, especially about midday. As with those who are in the military, a fire department, or police department, we thanked them for their service to their communities and moved on.
Since we would be leaving the next day, I spent the rest of the time packing up what needed to be packed. A lesson was to be learned the next day about where one should put the portable waste tank. Then, we just rested. We were glad to make the hike and it certainly proved to us that we need to get more exercise before taking any serious hikes.
Now, some pictures from the hike.
The first few pictures are in the small canyon east of the main canyon. The trail is flat and easily seen.
Some parts were even somewhat shaded.
Of course, somewhat odd trees are everywhere.
Did I say something about level trails? At least with this one, we were coming down and I took this picture back the way we came. Before stepping down on each level, I checked for slithery critters.
This was a view of the group camp from up on the canyon wall. The road leading out on the right is headed towards the main canyon.
Hey, a shady spot, right on the trail.
Howard over on RV Dreams has a thing for dead trees. Eat your heart out, Howard.
This was a fairly large plateau of rock.
Note the perspective of the size of the cactus and the size of the leaf. Yep, the cactus is a new shoot.
This is the slope we had to negotiate to descend back into the canyon. This image does not give a good perspective of the grade of the slope. However, you can see the individual foot steps in the center.
Back in the main canyon, walking back to the Mobile Suites.