By 1:45, we had begun our journey and were marveling at the warm late October sunshine
Somehow, although I must have walked this trail dozens of times, I never noticed this sweet little peek-a-boo tree! I had to take a photo!
I asked Pam if she'd ever been to the Potholes before. She didn't recall, so we took a little detour off the main trail. They were beautiful in their mossy coat.
I said, "Let's keep going for awhile up this trail," which was rock strewn and cobbled with tree roots. Probably not the best trail for me to be on, but I was overcome by the opportunity to get out in nature.
As we meandered along, I snapped this photo of a tree with ferns bursting out of the trunk, as far up as I could see!
We snapped a photo of the two of us, smiling, enjoying our time together. The weather was stunningly perfect, no breeze, and sunny skies.
Before long, we emerged from the side trail at a crossroads, with a sign I'd seen before. I'd forgotten where this particular trail ended, and we realized that we had gotten quite a bit further along, and away from Round Lake, than we had expected.
Somehow, we convinced ourselves to take a lower trail along the creek,
and that would be the correct direction.
It wasn't. We ended up way south of the lake, heading uphill.
We began climbing and climbing, and climbing some more. Twice, we turned back, then turned around again, coming back to where the second trail had ended. We were feeling a little lost, even though we knew that sooner or later we'd end up somewhere, just not necessarily in the same area as we had started from. Pam called her husband, a Camas boy, who wasn't much help. (We were surprised to have cell service!) So, we kept going, huffing and puffing, and now sweating quite profusely. We were a couple of sorry souls, and hadn't passed any other people for over an hour! (This is typically a busy park, by the way!!)
Pam finally said, after nearly 2 hours (from the beginning), "Let's pray!" So, we did!
As you might expect, about 10 minutes later we saw two people fly by in front of us on bicycles, on what was surely a road or path. We were too late and far away to hollar, but we excitedly picked up the pace to see if there was a sign. There was, but it wasn't much help, (and I forgot to take a picture!) It told us that back the way we came was the loop to the Lower Falls (we weren't going back) and if we went left it was "Access Road" and right was "Crown Road".
I was pretty sure we should go toward the Access Road, but Pam said she thought she could hear cars from the Crown Road and voted for that direction. She was all for finding the road and calling one of our husbands to come rescue us.
Instead, I called my daughter, Jessica, who I was certain could tell us which way to go from the sign, but Jess didn't answer her phone. I texted "HELP! Seriously lost!" Hoping she'd answer, but no luck. Just about then, two people came toward us on bikes from the Crown Road direction and we waved them down. I asked, "What is in that direction?"
The man answered, "Not much, a white gate and a small parking area."
We explained that we had gotten away from our original path and wanted to return to Round Lake and the parking lot. He directed us to go straight on the Access Road (which I knew already, but refrained from telling Pam, "I told you so!")
And, away we trudged, grateful to be going in the right direction, but still a good distance from the car.
Eventually, we came to the following sign, showing us that we were definitely on the right trail.
It's too bad the sign doesn't show the elevation. When we had finally seen the two folks on bikes, we were almost to the Parking area at the bottom of the map. What had begun as a quick hike around the lake, (which takes about 40 minutes on slow days!) ended up being nearly 3 hours.
Jess called me back just as we were passing back over the little dam. She didn't seem too surprised that we managed to find our way back.
We got our exercise, had a good chat, enjoyed the fresh air and what will likely be the last good "hike" for awhile. I just hope my sister is willing to go with me again. I have this affinity to see what's around the next bend, and it can take me places I don't expect at times. I'm not in the best physical shape at the moment, but I'm in no worse shape than when I started out on this little journey today. My new knee is working very well! (Except for the downhill . . . but it's working!)