Wednesday I was bitten by the “let’s get out of this town and go somewhere” bug so that night I began to plan out possible adventures.
I considered driving down a road I’d never been down (sounds more poetic than the reality of it).
I considered Kamiak Butte County Park.
I considered Palouse Falls.
I considered a couple trails around town I read about recently.
Finally, my mom suggested driving down a particular highway I’ve driven several times. My research kept leading me back to Indian Cliffs Trail in Heyburn State Park, about an hour drive, catchy name, sounded like an easy enough hike plus other trails nearby.
I arrived at the visitor’s center, greeted by a nice lady, paid for parking (well worth the 5$ for the day), put on my new backpack and camera then realized I didn’t really see a trail….. 😕 Times like these I wish I had someone with me but I didn’t so I double check the maps then realize I need to drive down the road to get to the trail heads plus I’m pretty sure the lady said that but in my eagerness I was only half listening 😄 Oops!
I head down the tiny, winding road and stop at the first sign I see which is for Plummer Creek Marsh, not the trail I’m looking for but it’s an adventure so I stop to check it out. It’s a beautiful section of wetlands with a boardwalk so you can walk down over the marshes to check out the wildlife.
I saw a muskrat, a duck, some Canadian Geese, and a heron. Herons are elusive to me. The stream by my apartment has herons but I’ve only seen one close once….it’s one of my missions. Photograph a heron (I’ll add it to the list). I spent some time here because it was beautiful and quiet plus I was hoping the heron was going to come back.
I finally made it to the trail head and I was off. It was pretty mellow in the beginning then the trail split into 2 options. I wanted a challenge so I headed toward Indian Cliffs Trail and started to climb. It was a slight climb then leveled out for a nice walk in the forest where I saw this very noisy fellow. He was screaming at me like I had seriously offended him in some way so I offered him some peanuts and sunflower seeds as a peace offering but he was having none of it. Thankfully he let me snap a few shots then he ran away.
After this the forest began to clear slightly and I began to climb and climb and climb. As an inexperienced hiker and out of shape person it was a challenge. The words of one reviewer from a trail site when I was researching came to mind about her “3 and 5 year old making the hike with minimal complaints” As I recalled those words I thought “3 and 5 year old mountain goats?” I thought this while I struggled to catch my breath and picturing a 3 year old running up the incline taunting me.
When you reach a certain point in a hike there’s no turning around so you push forward.
I realized later there was a guy hiking a ways behind me who might have heard my pep talk to myself “You can do anything” “You will climb this mountain” “Just a few steps more” “You’re amazing” “One more hill” “You’re almost there” but I didn’t care who heard me I needed to remind myself I would make it.
At this point I was ready to throw myself down the hill and let the next hikers find me or call someone to send in a helicopter to rescue me. I might have been feeling over dramatic but as the temperature climbed with the incline I was struggling. I stopped about every shady spot to drink some water and catch my breath.
Finally I began to realize I was almost at the top. I gave myself another pep talk and pushed forward finally coming up to the view of the lake. It’s an indescribable feeling when you do something you didn’t think you were capable of doing. I’m learning to love that feeling plus the payout of this amazing view at the top. I would have missed this if I’d given up.
I walked a bit further and found a picnic bench, which was a relief because I love the outdoors but I also love eating some place not completely covered in bugs (like the log I’d considered sitting on earlier).
The featured pic shows my lunchtime view. It was beautiful and I felt so relaxed. The downside was after sitting down my stiff body didn’t want to get moving again but I finally headed back down the trail.
The climb down wasn’t too bad. A few slopes covered in pine needles, twigs, and rocks designed to trip you on your way down. I did fall once but thankfully caught myself so it wasn’t bad at all. On my way back I stopped by the visitors center but they were closed so I walked on their deck that has a view of the lake just in time to see a bald eagle swoop down to catch a fish.
One of many moments I didn’t capture on camera. I love taking pictures but I also love just being in the moment. Much of my day was spent admiring the views, enjoying the stillness, and appreciating the beauty of everything around me.
This post was a bit lengthy but hopefully you guys enjoyed it. My next close to home adventure is Farmer’s Market tomorrow then I’ll probably plan another couple hikes for next week (unless I get a job interview 😉 ).
My confidence climbs with every adventure I conquer plus the more I explore the more I fall in love with hiking.