Back when we used to get the paper, (does anyone get a paper anymore?) I noticed a blurb for 'Hike of the Week". I cut it out, and filed it in my 'misc' folder. (along with my sketches for the potting shed we never made, and the inspirational pictures for remodeling the kitchen that we never used) I don't know what made me remember that hike, but I dug it out last weekend. (it had to be in there for at least three years) I was having another 'Devil's Mountain' kind of day, and figured it would be a good idea to sequester myself from other humans likely to tempt me to snap badly at them . (aka, my children)
It was a beautiful drive to the Mt. Baker area, and it felt good to belt out whatever song came on the radio. (I cried singing Alicia Keys "No one"...if you've ever heard this song you'll know it's not even remotely sad. If this doesn't prove I was hormonal, I don't know what would) I was glad to have very clear directions to get there, complete with mileage from road turn offs and such. I set my odometer at precisely the right times, so I would be sure not to get lost. When I finally went the 6 miles past Mount Baker Campground, I looked for the "junction" where I would go left. What the hell's a 'junction' anyway? I mean, it's not exactly a fork in the road, right? Is it just an intersection? There was a road there, on the left, and a different campground on the right...but why not just say "turn left when you come to the next campground"? But I turned left anyway...because I didn't want to question the precise directions. "Go up the road half a mile to the large parking lot". I figured if there was no parking lot in a half mile, then something was up. But there was...an extremely creepy parking lot. With one car full of teenage boys doing doughnuts. Suddenly I really wished I had brought my dog, or at least a can of mace. I turned around and headed back to the road, cursing those up-to-no-good boys.
I went across the street to the campground and found a bathroom. I waited. I decided to go back and give it another try, because maybe the boys left. Sure enough, nobody was up there when I returned, so I drove around trying to find any sort of trail head sign. Nothing. I did find fire pits in the parking lot and quite a few beer bottles. I didn't even bother getting out of my car...this was so off and I felt really, really uneasy. What to do but start heading back and maybe do something else? I drove about 15 minutes and pulled over to look at a map to try and find a different hike. Yes, a map. Why the heck I didn't look at it in the first place is beyond me...but I just had such total confidence in those detailed directions. And there at the end of the road was "Baker River Trail", clear as could be. So this is the all the directions I actually needed, "GO TO THE END OF THE FRICKEN ROAD".
So I turned around and drove to the end and found the very clearly marked trail, complete with bathrooms and families and normalcy. I was relived, and also pretty pissed I had wasted probably about 45 minutes because of those bogus directions. (when I came home and complained to Ken he just said, "You mean the paper got something wrong?" I do love a man who is skilled in sarcasm) So here is hiking lesson #7; before driving to the trail head, check at least two sources for directions to make sure they match up. The hike itself was everything I was hoping for: easy, peaceful, beautiful. (sounds like a cover girl commercial, sorry) A calming stroll was just what the doctor ordered, and I returned home in a much better state of mind.