I decided I needed to go hiking yesterday with a couple cameras, a tripod, and a bag of lenses I wouldn’t use. I parked at Frank’s Tract with the goal of reaching Hart’s Bluff. The Lusk Creek Natural area is full of landmarks like, Owl’s Bluff, Sandpeter Cave, Secret Canyon ect. I’ve been to most of them, except Hart’s Bluff. I printed out a map and used Strava on my phone for navigation.
The first challenge was crossing Lusk Creek at Blanchard Crossing. I didn’t prepare very well and forgot to wear somekind of water proof boot. Luckily the water wasn’t that high and my feet just got a bit damp. The trail meandered up the bluff along the Creek and I began to think about getting a camera out when a stunning Blue Heron took off from the creek below and skimmed along the water with it’s laborious slow flight. Might have been a great shot if I’d had a camera ready.
So hiking in the SHawnee can be kind of hit or miss, sometimes trails are easy to follow and well marked, sometimes they aren’t. Shortly the trail signage for the 457 I was on disapeared but I was certain I was still going the right way. Eventually I crossed a creek that required a bit more planning to get across without getting soaked and somewhere I missed the trail. For the next mile I would continue along on a well used trail that wasn’t on the map, and that crossed the creek seemingly for no reason over and over again. By this time I had given up keeping my feet dry, it was above freezing.
I checked the map and realized I had made a wrong turn, but going back would be a sign of weakness and the Shawnee abhors weakness so I continued on. I saw a side trail up out of the hollow and followed it to the familiar 459. This is part of the Gossage trail we ride frequently. I turned left and circled around following signs to Hart’s Bluff. It hate to put Hart’s Bluff down, but as far as scenic bluffs go it was weak. The bluff left me scratching my head, there are hundreds of bluffs just like it in the Forest, why did this one deserve a name. Maybe something really interesting happened here? Anyone know?
So now I just had about three miles to go back to the car, I figured this hike would be about 3 miles all together. Everything was fine until the last couple of miles which were all uphill. Warming temperatures meant the ground had gone from frozen mud to sloppy mud, with some ice mixed in for good measure. The last half mile was a trudge and seemed to take forever. I was very glad to see the car.
Today I’m paying for yesterday’s misadventure with legs that feel, to borrow a phrase Shauna likes to use, “TIGHTER THAN A HIDE” This was my first hike in a long time and as usual I was ill prepared for a seven mile hike. I guess it was worth it, even if I’ll be limping for the a day or two! See you in the woods!