Thursday, April 11, 2013

New Heights and Sights and ... Snakes Alive!

I took a hike a day or so ago with my two friends into new territory.  My friend lives on 30 acres, which then backs up to timber land, which then is also surrounded by larger privately owned properties.  Since acquiring the permission to hike on the land of these privately owned properties, it has been taking our hiking efforts to new heights and sights!

We set out dressed and prepared for at least a 3-hour hike, and headed through the timber land through which we had hiked before, onto the privately owned property, whose owners had given us permission to hike through.  Because there are no actual "trails" to get there, we did a lot of "brush" hiking... which meant basically forging our way through thick undergrowth of brush, trees, stumps, limbs and various other wooded area debris to get to where we had never been before. 

The sun was shining bright, thankfully, and the two local mountain focal points were easy to see most of the time from where we were, so the general direction of where we were was always kept in focus using the sun, and the mountains.  My friend also brought along her compass, which I suspect she only used just to verify exactly where we were, although she seemed to just KNOW which way to go at any given time during the hike.

For me and the other lady, we were just followers.  We would have followed her to the end of the earth, I think.  We bravely traversed behind her footsteps, believing that she would make sure we got back home. And we did!  The other lady had be back at 1:00 sharp for an appointment she had to  keep.  I climbed back into my vehicle and looked at the clock, it was 1:00 exactly!  Pretty amazing considering that we had walked almost 8 miles in a little over three hours. 

Some of the dense, brushy forest that we walked through, without a trail of any kind... we were trail blazers!

Beautiful sunny day for exceptional mountain views... 

At all times during the hike, while we were on "new territory", at least there were familiar sights far in the distance that kept us from feeling entirely "lost"! 

Which road to take?  I tell you, these logging trails make no sense, rhyme or reason.  They criss-cross each other back and forth, and you never know when you are at a cross-road exactly which one to take. It is always an adventure when you choose one trail over another!  We chose not to walk on this particular trail, although it looked really promising to me with the amazing view of the mountains.

You can see how the trails branch off here, and one definitely looks less traveled than the other.

Do you see the trail here?  I didn't see it either!

But, this is the trail we ended up on!  We veered off the two main logging trails and walked through the dense brush, making our own trail as we went.

The dogs enjoyed a moment of rest as we stopped and refreshed ourselves with our water bottles, and considered what direction we needed to go next.

I'm not joking about us making our own trails!

When we finally came out of the brush to the rear of this picture, and saw this beautiful tall tree, it was a landmark we recognized, and were so glad to see! From that point on, we were back on familiar territory in the timber land. 

We spotted quite a few brave flowers poking their heads up out of the cold ground to meet the warm sunshine!  They waved and danced for me as I tried to capture their beauty....


The whole hillside at one point was covered with their gentle efforts to beautify a landscape drab and drear from a winter covered in snow.  What a welcome sight to see these brave flowers rising to meet the sunshine from the cold rocky ground! 

Even though we were close to getting back to our starting point, this didn't mean that the hike got any easier!  In fact, it seemed that for the last half hour or so of the hike, all we did was criss-cross up and down rock outcroppings like this one.  

 A view of Mount Spokane through the maze of trees...

And then... I saw the strangest sight of the day!  I've NEVER in my life seen a BLUE snake!  But I can't say that anymore!

 I was about to step over a dead limb, when I realized there was something blue sticking out of it.  When I bent closer to get a look, I jumped back....  my natural instinct and response to snakes is alive and well, let me tell you! 

But then, my curiosity got the betterment of me, and I remembered that Idaho has only one poisonous snake, and it is not found at all in this area, it is found down in the Boise area.  So, I bravely lowered my body carefully to see what to make of this little BLUE snake!  I tried to snap some better pictures of him, but he was really camera shy.  He did not appreciate me trying to take his picture!

I barely caught a glimpse of his blue tail as he slithered away under the closest log.  That was the best I could do.  He was a very unusually colored snake, and I've since tried to look up information to find out exactly what kind of snake family he belongs to!  His head and half of his upper body were brown, and the rest of his body were a brightly colored blue!  If anyone reading this blog can answer what kind of snake this little fellow was, t'would be greatly appreciated!  I spent a while after I got home on the computer trying to find out, but no one seems to mention anything about a half brown-half blue garter-sized snake. 

So that was the exciting end to our three-hour plus hike... getting to see this very interesting snake.  But the best news was yet to come.  I had no idea exactly how far we had walked or all those kinds of statistics, but my friend had brought along her fancy watch that clocked every footstep we took, every mile we walked, and every calorie we burned. 

The watch said 550 calories burned, 17,276 steps, 7.9 miles all done in 3-1/2 hours. Wow! I was impressed.  I wanted to leave immediately and go find the closest hamburger joint, I was so hungry! LOL... well.... I didn't do it. I went home instead, and made myself a hot cup of tea and stir fried up some kale, spinach, and other veggies in my refrigerator.  I wanted this hike to have all the impact it possibly could... and according to the scales the next morning... not too shabby of a deal... seems I had lost about a pound and a half in the process.  

Now... if I could only do this every day... my goodness.... wouldn't that be something to lose a pound or two every time I took a hike like this... my mind started calculating the possibilities, but my body refused to listen. ...

PS: I'm still eating kale and veggies.  Maybe, just maybe... I'll lose some more weight in the process.  And... I'm looking forward to the next hike already! (after I've had a day or two to recover!) 

PSS:  Really, to be honest,  it was awesome! I'd do it again in a heartbeat.  Loved every minute of it, and look forward to another great hike next week.  I'll keep you posted...

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