We spent about 2.5 hours on Wildcat Trail.
30 minutes in, I lost the trail. I didn’t know I was lost until I saw the actual trail again. I’d honestly thought we’d been following it but it turned out we were just following a horse path…I’d noticed a prior set of footprints going up a dune right about as the trail went over portion of rock with no footprints visible. Understandable, right?! ... right.
Needed to find my zen with a little impromptu yoga. I call this the west-mitten-I-need-to-warm-up yoga class. ;)
Then my phone died. For the first time. Yup, there were multiple times. My best guess was that I had too many pictures on the phone and not enough memory free to continue taking the million photos I kept snapping. I quickly tossed around a few scenarios such as walking back to the car to charge the phone or grab the old phone I use as a music player, or just finishing the hike and enjoying the rest of it without technology to provide photographic evidence/reminders of being there. I opted for the no technology option and proceeded forward with fresh eyes trying to savor every last drop I could see.
Five minutes later I felt the need to snap a picture and tried turning my phone back on, juuuuust in case…success!! I took advantage of this bonus moment with a panorama photo – phone immediately dies!! Dang it. But at least I got the picture, and I think it turned out pretty neat seeing how it adjusted to the sun.
Then I came to the mitten & tree photo location. I needed this photo! Tried the phone again and it showed me a flashing red dead battery symbol. What is this sorcery?! ?!
Waited two minutes and admired the scenery. Tried again – it’s alive!! Aha!! Tried to open the photo app right away to delete photos – dead. Sigh.
So long beautiful mitten tree.
I continued hiking and mulled over my options once again. I knew I was at least half way. Do I simply enjoy the magnificent views and call it good, or hike back here after I got back to the car to plug in the phone and delete a few photos??
0.5km. I decided to try one last time…
Dead battery image of doom. -_-
Put the phone in my pocket to wait (still hiking)…
1km. Try again. Phone turns on…<tentative excitement>
Put phone in pocket very carefully as though any rough handling will cause it to get angry and shut down.
1.5km. Pause to try to delete several old videos and photos – success!! And the phone it still on!
Hustle back to the mitten tree, grinning like a goofball again!
The mitten tree photos may not have been the best I took on the trip, but they’re my favorite because getting to that point was half the adventure. I don’t think I’ve ever turned back around to capture a photo, but it was a fun reminder that readjusting the ‘plans’ you have in your head is totally okay. It is those little detours that make for good stories, even if those good stories matter only to you.
Also, I've now learned to always carry an extra battery and to listen to your phone when is says your storage is almost full.
Also #2, I love taking creeper-status selfies with my dogs. Am I the only one?! :D
8:22 am. The valley sprawled out ahead of us, empty of visitors but full of adventures.
After roaming about Goosenecks State Park and the surrounding area Sunday evening, I checked in at the hotel – Goulding’s Lodge. I chose this one because it was pet friendly ($20 per pet). A nice bonus was that the room looked out over the valley. We enjoyed a cozy stay and in the morning we were able to watch the sun start to rise (or look for critters, depending who you asked) from our patio. This was my signal the pack up and head to the valley (a short 4-mile drive from the hotel).
There was a $20 entrance fee, which was good for two days (wish I had known that before – I might have fit in an evening hike and a morning hike!). I checked in at the visitor’s center and logged my info in the Wildcat Trail hiker’s log. I returned to the car to retrieve the hounds (no dogs allowed inside the visitor center buildings!) and bundled them up for the windy and chilly hike ahead of us.
The start of the trail was like a red sand dune. As we lowered into the valley, it turned to packed red dirt and rock. I could see tracks from previous hikers, but they were blurred enough the night’s rain that I could tell they were from the day before.
We stopped frequently to enjoy the peace of the valley. Each moment brought changes to the colors of the valley as the sun rose higher and as clouds swept over the tops of the larger monuments. It was going to be a wonderful stroll along the Wildcat Trail.
Things I’ve decided to do:
So I guess this weekend was a super bonus excursion for items 1-3.
We left home early Sunday morning, cruising through the snowy mountains in Flagstaff just long enough to make me appreciate living without it. ;) The cool temps and rainy weather left low clouds completely obscuring to top halves of the in Flag and even monuments up in the Valley! I love fog and low clouds, so this had me grinning like a goofball!
Our first intended stop was Goosenecks State Park in southern Utah, just a tiptoe north of the AZ/UT border. The road takes you right up to the cliffs, so there wasn’t much for “hiking”, but the impressive view makes up for it!
I ventured up to the edge without the dogs to assess the situation. Yup, definitely a long drop if you fall over the edge. No small animals for the hounds to dart after, but it is windy so you never know what will blow by that they’ll determine needs to be chased… After several hours in the car, they were ready to rumble! My knees were already going weak at the thought of them dragging me over the edge! Eek!
Of course that thought didn’t stop me from leashing them up and following the short path along the canyon edge. It just added a little “excitement” to our exploration. ;)
The park was practically empty – just two other cars when we arrived and only one other showing up while we were there. It was a nice change from some of the hikes around town. As it turned out, visiting deserted parks was the theme for the weekend.
I see an SUV pull up on a side street. It stops a moment, then backs up a bit, like it's trying to not block the sidewalk path for us. We're a fair bit back, so they're being a little overly cautious I think. Whatevs. Better than the other 75% that don't bother looking before they pull out.
We get closer.
Passenger window is down, a lady pops her head out: Your dogs are so good looking!!
Me: Aw, thank you! (Insert giant proud smile as though I had made them myself)
Lady (to the dogs): Oh just look how pretty you are! Such beautiful animals!
I think Cool Whip started prancing after that.
Unrelated hiking pictures, just for fun: