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One of the High Points of the Summer

August 28, 2020

One of the things I ponder from time to time is when does a walk turn into a hike. In Michigan, it was easier. If I was on a sidewalk most of the time, it was a walk (or a jog if I was going fast enough). If there was dirt under my shoes and trees around me that weren’t part of a landscaping effort, it was hike. Living where we do in Idaho, those guidelines don’t work. The only sidewalks within reasonable walking distance are the ones around the buildings in the village. One of the ways to get to where we pick up our mail has a section of legitimate trail in it, on dirt through a forest. Is going to get the mail a walk when I stay mostly on pavement but a hike when I take that alternate path? Does elevation change factor into it at all? I feel like it should somehow.

I don’t know that I’ll ever settle on set of new rules for what qualifies as a hike out here, but Mr. K and I did an excursion the other day that would clear the bar in any scenario I think I would come up with. We took sandwiches, for instance, knowing we’d be out longer than the normal time between meals.

Our adventure started with a ride up the lift. From there, we walked (hiked?) down the ridge to a saddle then partway up to the next peak before splitting off onto a named trail that starts on resort property but soon winds beyond the boundary. The first section has views into a valley and the mountains beyond.

view of mostly green mountains

 

We stopped along the way to pick huckleberries, which were ripe in patches all along the trail. Some of the leaves on bushes and other plants were already showing fall colors; summer doesn’t last very long up here.

closeup of wildflower foilage turning autumnal colors

 

The trails meanders down and away from the ridge for a while, then climbs again and follows along the ridge for a short while on the other side of that peak it turned away from early on. Then it wanders away from the ridge again, winding through forest and mountain meadows both.

packed dirt trail winding through a forest

 

We made so many stops to pick huckleberries that by the time we got to the point where we had to decide whether to take the cutoff back to the village or keep going on the main trail, we chose the cutoff, which before too long dumped us out onto a road in the residential area of the mountain (which is still being built out). We could see the sunset alpenglow across the valley as we walked the long switchbacks on our way home, arriving there tired and satisfied with our outing.

landscape view from a mountain of other mountains in alpenglow

 

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