Joel wanted to head to Roosevelt Lake to try and take advantage of the stormy day and get some good photos
, and I decided to tag along because there are few days that I can enjoy weather as cool as we had on Wednesday (High of 82 in July!?)
I quickly looked at HAZ to see what there was along the lake and figured that an out-and-back on the Thompson Trail would suffice. An easy 5- or 6-mile trip should keep me occupied for a couple of hours.
Preston's GPS track looked straightforward, and easy to follow, so I didn't print a map or anything. I brought my GPS, and my phone had reception most of the time, but I didn't really look at it until I realized I had done something wrong!
Driving by on the highway I had seen a clearly marked sign for the Frazier Trailhead right next to an electrical substation. I just pulled into the lot and got packed up. Glanced at the map quickly and headed out. It wasn't until I reached the junction with the AZT/FR341 at Cottonwood Creek that I realized that I had not started the same place that Preston had started. Oh well, I just kept going. The weather was perfect, cloudy, cool, a nice breeze.... only the overwhelming scent of fresh cowpies detracted me.
Eventually, I began to get impatient because I was planning
on a 2.5 mile hike, and I hadn't looked at my GPS but it sure felt
like I had been hiking a lot
longer than 2.5 miles! The trail meanders up and down parallel canyons, and it just seemed like this was the most indirect, inefficient route to get to the bridge. Finally it came into view, it was beginning to get dark and I pre-decided that my return trip would be on the highway--a much more direct route.
Just before getting to the bridge, I was startled by the familiar sound of a western diamondback rattlesnake. He was definitely on guard because he was right next to the trail, but at least 15 feet ahead of me. He was coiled and ready in strike mode. I got as close as I dared and snapped a couple of photos before backing down the trail to give him a chance to move. He didn't. I threw some small rocks down the trail, but he was staying put. I looked around and noticed the trail switchbacked up ahead, so I decided to just cut the switchback. He slowed his rattle, but didn't stop until I was 30 feet away!
Getting to the highway just short of the 5-mile mark, I cruised the 2+ miles back to the trailhead, and headed down to the lake in time for nature's fireworks show in the sky.
Nothing too exciting about the trail(s). I certainly wouldn't make it a destination, but if you're ever out at the lake for another reason, it's a perfectly interesting way to spend a couple of hours.