Dog Creek Indian Caves

May 6, 1995

First of all I want to thank my stalwart companions — Blyth Carpenter, Ben Elkus, Theresa Gantz, J. Scott Hovis, Kris Kennedy, Carolyn Kompanik, Lee Means, Gerry Paulsen, Virginia Prouty, Sharon Ritchie, Judy Sladek and Marian West. They helped to make this a delightful trip despite the slightly adverse conditions. Usually this is a fairly easy trip except for the moderately steep trail on the way back to the parking spot. This year was different. First of all, the spur road to the trail head was gated and locked to protect a pair of mating falcons. This is usually a 3½-mile hike, but hiking the additional distance on the spur road would have added another 5 miles to the hike. Since I know the area fairly well, I noted on the sign-up sheet that there would be about a mile of cross-country hiking. The cross-country route would give a total distance of 6 miles rather than the 8½ miles we would have if we hiked the spur road. The weather was misty and the visibility was poor. This made selecting the best cross-country route to get to the regular trail head more difficult. I found a route that minimized the cross-country distance, but the terrain was steep. The dampness from the mist made the route slippery. Everyone survived this section and hiked on to the Indian Caves. The wet, cold spring had retarded the blooming of a lot of the wild flowers, so I was apprehensive that the kalmiopsis leachiana might not be in bloom. I would have hated for people to be disappointed after they had worked so hard to arrive at our destination. Fortunately, my fears were groundless. Enough of the kalmiopsis was blooming for my companions to enjoy along with the pictographs and the sculptured rock formations here. The damp weather added savor to having a dry, rock shelter in which to have our lunch. On the way to our parking spot, I was able to find a section of the Bradley Ridge Trail that had been abandoned over 20 years ago. Consequently, we didn't have to use the steeper, cross-country route we had taken on the way in. — Anne Montgomery (leader)


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