Continued from Part 1.

Then we set off again, this time turning right to follow the Queen’s River. But not before a local rodent posed for me. I swear, Ambrose and I have already seen more animals this year than we did all of last summer. And they keep holding still and waiting for me to take their pictures. I love it.

So cute!

I also took a picture of a bearing tree. I had never seen one of these before, but apparently they are a relatively common way of marking certain boundaries. The information was hardly legible, but I was able to make out the date, 6/25/93.

The bearing tree

Close up of the bearing tree

This direction of travel did not stay as close to the river as the other direction. We could still hear it for a little while, but we lost sight of it quickly as we walked along a widening meadow in the late morning sunshine. The ground was damp in places, and some small streams had found the trail as the easiest place to flow, but none were deep enough to bother either of us.

A section of meadow between the trees

As we walked, we heard voices in the direction of the river, and, looking in that direction we saw a truck and camp all set up. For a moment, I wondered at the cajones involved in driving a pickup truck into a wilderness area, but then I realized that the camp was across the river, and, therefore, not technically in the wilderness area – just as close as you could drive to it without getting your truck wet.

Long underwear gone!

Ambrose and I kept walking for a little bit longer than he wanted to in order to get out of sight of the camp, because he had put on long underwear under his shorts when we went back to the campsite and he was now too hot. I had expected that, since it was turning into quite a nice day, and even cool weather can feel hot when you’re hiking.

We paused in a copse of trees so he could get rid of the long underwear. I took care of a call of nature while he went through the laborious process of removing and then putting back on his boots and socks. I was done first.

The trees have been partially burned

This section of trail wandered from meadows to trees, and a majority of the tree areas showed signs of recent fire. There were occasional downed limbs across the trail, but not so many as to be a burden to our hike. One of them was the perfect height for me to walk under, but Ambrose had to walk around it. Not that that was entirely a burden in that particular terrain.

I fit under the tree right next to the log, but Ambrose had to go around.

The first and second stream crossings were not difficult to cross. The water was shallow and the flow was not nearly as fast as the streams feeding the Little Queen’s River. One of them had a cute little log bridge that I tried to use as balance practice in a non-threatening context. When we came to a wider stream that had no bridging logs, Ambrose decided that he would change into his FiveFingers, which he had brought especially for this purpose, and I decided I would attempt a fording in my boots.

Cute little log bridging a cute little stream

I was wearing gaiters over my waterproof boots, so I figured that I would see just how much extra protection I got with that set up. The water looked like it might get a little deeper than the tops of my boots, but Ambrose had been telling me that I really ought to wear wet boots to create a new wear pattern inside them since I had changed my gait since first breaking them in. My only qualm was that the last time Ambrose forded a stream and got water in his boots, the tent was nearly unbearable with the stink of his feet that night.

I stepped as quickly as I could across the stream and just barely got the top of my gaiters soaked through with water. Nothing really went into my boots and I was glad about that as I waited for Ambrose to finish the process of boots off, shoes on, cross river, boots back on.

A small rise along the trail

As we walked on, the trail climbed a small elevation to a large detour. A huge tree had fallen across the path, and the detour wasn’t easy or obvious. Rocks and ash made for difficult footing as we threaded our way through.

This blocked the trail.

Soon, the trail entered another shallow stream bed. It took us a few minutes of searching before we realized that the trail was, in fact, flooded and followed the stream. I really wanted to keep going until we could see where the trail crossed the Queen’s River, but before long the trail was completely lost to the water, and I conceded that Ambrose was right about turning around.

This toad was nearly stepped on by Ambrose, but climbed back on this rock so I could take its picture.

We stopped for lunch as a relatively dry spot, and then did a forced march back to camp. I didn’t pause too often for pictures on the way back, because Ambrose wanted to hurry back and I figured we would be back out here again some time for more pictures. Considering I’m planning on doing my solo hike in that area this year, I am definitely planning to be back and to take copious amounts of pictures. It will be interesting to compare the pictures from late spring to the pictures of late summer though, even if only a few of them.

We lost the trail momentarily and I found these rusted horseshoes.

It’s easy to lose the trail when the trees that could have blazes are burned.

I wonder what this meadow will look like in a couple months…

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