Monday, May 21, 2012

Ex-Sta-TICK Adventures!

Our tick-filled hiking adventures out at Applegate Lake on Sunday, May 20th. We hiked 7 miles on the rather difficult Collings Mountain Trail, then detoured for another 4 miles via the Dakubetede trail around Applegate Lake & back to the car. 5 hours of hiking and 2 tick bites (plus dozens of tick passengers! Ick...), here is photo-documentation of our adventures.

Here is the description of this difficult hike, per the gorp website: 

"Leaving Grouse Creek, the trail climbs steeply for one mile to the ridge top, gaining 1,000' elevation, and begins a long traverse of the western slope of Collings Mountain summit. Excellent panoramic views of the Applegate Lake and surrounding mountains are seen at several locations along the trail.  After following the ridge line for 2 miles, the trail then descends at a moderate rate for 3 miles to Watkins Campground, The last 1/2 mile of trail passes through the 62 acre Watkins fire that burned in 1981."

Collings Mountain definitely kicked our butts, and I would never, EVER, go again during this time of year due to the EXTREME number of ticks!  *shiver*  However, it was a gorgeous hike, blood-suckers aside.  Most of the trail is shaded, so you are protected from the hot summer sun, and you get the awful insanely steep portion of the trail over with in the first ~2 miles (while you're still "fresh").  BRING LOTS OF WATER!  We went through 2 liters on Collings Mountain, and another liter on Dakubetede trail.

The start of the hiking (Collings Mountain Trail)! Note the spring in our step and the twinkle in our eyes! This faded tick at a time...
A pretty babbling brook at the start of the trail. 

The first mile or so of the trail offers three sets of points-of-interest: an old miners' cabin (which has since collapsed), the notorious Big Foot trap, and several mine adits.

Stroud-style, I helpfully point out necessary survival tools at the Big Foot Trap: an abandoned pair of sunglasses and a (definitely used) jock strap. These tools could be vital in a survival situation, but what kind of survival situation remains to be seen...

Fierce and ready to scare off the elusive Big Foot!  GRRRRR!

Ryan's WTF expression upon first seeing the trap is rather priceless... 

Gamely posing for the camera...

"What kind of Big Foot would be STUPID enough to get caught in there?!" Now you understand why the trap was abandoned after 2 fruitless years...God Bless the 1970s!

Gaining elevation as we work our way towards the ridge...that was some intense climbing! We gained 1,024 feet in about 1 mile or so...


A peek at the lake to strengthen our weakened resolve as we climb ever upwards along the forested path...


California Ground Cone - one of the most fascinating things I have ever seen! These were everywhere, and so cool!


Gorgeous view of the lake from the trail!

Trail's end after 11 miles of hiking. Smiling but tired...and definitely itchy!

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