Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Our First Hike at Koomer Ridge

We had a run of unexpectedly warm weather.  One day, while looking in on the walk-in tent camping area, we started down the trail to Hidden Arch just to ‘check it out’. 

The trail that is. 

        With a start as beautiful and enticing as this,
                   how could you not take a walk?

We had no intention of doing the whole trail or making it to the arch.  It was more about wanting to know what the trail was like.  But we kept walking and a half mile later (yes, you can laugh now) we found ourselves at the edge.

      An amazing view of ‘Fire on the Mountain’ - referring to all of the fall red and orange.

As she headed toward the edge, Nicole peered right where a trail descended and said, “that looks a little hairy.”  So, we walked to the edge to admire the view and looked every which way finally confirming that Hidden was indeed a great name for this arch.

Then Darlene got the idea to look a little further to the right and discovered... stairs! 
A few downward steps later the arch revealed itself.  It was a cute little thing and we attempted our first self portrait in a good long while.


                 But you probably want to see the arch more than our mugs.

                                                Cute, isn’t it?!

Down at arch level (which isn’t the bottom by the way) there is a grove of Rhododendrons.  A huge grove!  We could only imagine what it would be like when they are in full bloom. 

Speaking of blooming.  Funny story.  Ever since finding out that The Red is home to a plant / flower that grows nowhere else in the world, Nicole has been psyched to get a glimpse of the soon to be dormant beauty.  She spots a neat little flower blooming in one of the small rock shelters and is instantly enthralled and excited.  She raves and raves and takes photo after photo excited to spot one of the last remaining flowers of the season.

     Certainly, this is the White Haired Goldenrod.  Look at those little white hairs!

Even on the hike out she continued to rave about how lucky we were to see this rare flower.  After her excitement wore down, reality set in as did the realization that Goldenrod, after all, is golden colored not pink. 

Ah well, at least it was a flower she hadn’t seen before, rare or not.

Speaking of rare... these are probably some of the last fall photos
we’ll share for a while.  As you can see, Mother Nature is nearly done
with the switch from full color to bare twigs and branches.

    A fungus seems to have overtaken this unfortunate moth we spotted on the trail.

Signs indicated that the Hidden Arch Trail was a ‘loop’.  So, rather than return the way we came, Darlene was inspired to ‘go full circle’.  Remember those stairs we came down that got us to arch level so quickly?  Well, there were no stairs on the second part of the loop.  But we still had to go up!  And, up.  And, up!  The ‘loop’ route also added another 3/4 of a mile. 


   All in all for these non-hiker chicks, it was quite the trip
considering we were just going to peek at the start of the trail.