The mission was to hike a few miles in the Blue Range Primitive Area.
I drove in the night before, making an early first-light start on what appeared on paper to be an easy hike. With rain likely, I decided to wear waterproof pants and a medium BDU jacket, along with a parka in the pack.
The first leg of the trip was up Fritz Canyon, which has an intermittent stream and several springs. The walking was not very tough but it soon became apparent that my choice of attire was a huge mistake: The pants were made of an impervious barrier of polyester, unlike Goretex, trapping body heat and sweat like an oven set to broil.
Mein Gott! These pants came straight from an Abu Ghraib torture chamber!
Unzipping the fly offered some relief, but it was not enough to prevent a nasty rash that tormented me the rest of the trip. By noon, my hopes of cool weather were dashed with the reality that these pines, were in fact, hot and humid pines with temps in the high 90's. It was St. Louis humidity...just could not seem to cool down, no matter how much I perspired.
Planned on bagging Maple Peak, but had to take a detour on account of running out of water. I tried to fill up at Maple Tank, but the water there was so nasty from cattle that I dared not risk it. Funny phenomena how cattle completely lose control of their bowels the moment they get within ten feet of a water hole.
Headed down Horse Canyon and found sweet water at Wavy Spring, calling it a day around 8:00 PM. Horse Canyon has some big pines and other trees, the intermittent stream providing a nice green belt all the way down to the Blue River. The pines are burned out and small up along the mountains, but quite big near the creek. I walked the Horse Canyon Trail for about five miles, losing it several times.
I am not one to whine about unkempt trails, but these are in really bad shape. Some say that the Forest Service is intentionally letting the trail system degrade in areas that have Mexican grey wolves, making access more difficult.
Reading the trail log at Horse Camp Cabin was interesting. It documents the decline of the deer and elk populations after the introduction of the wolves, with many stories of how things used to be, and how they are now. One thing is for sure, this area is a great place to find skulls and bones. I found out later that the Forest Service lists the current location of the wolf packs each week, and there was a wolf pack about 10 miles to the north of my location.
The Blue Range is a neat area and I hope to do a few more ops in there over the coming weeks, minus the torture pants.
||Wildflowers Observation Isolated
||Quart per minute
|Good water can be had here in the summer.|
|Water has some pollution on account of being inside a corral.|
||Rock Tank Spring
|They must have listed an incorrect location on this spring as there is nothing here. Water can be found about 20 minutes further up the creek.|