Dave and I have this "tradition" of hiking on the 4th of July. It didn't really start with that intention, but the first year we were dating we were both flat broke - and after our first idea of tie-dying a couple of old t-shirts, we decided the second cheapest thing we could do on a day we both happened to have off was to walk through the woods.
Our first 4th of July hike was to Little Wilson Falls. I'll never forget that first hike, because we drove his old Impala (VERY little ground clearance) up a dirt road that I was positive we would get stuck on, and then about a half hour into the hike we got hit with the worst thunderstorm I've ever seen. We were going to attempt to finish the hike in the rain, but when the lightening started hitting close, and then we were getting pelted in the head with quarter-sized hail we figured we should probably turn around. We ran (yes, ran) the trail back to the car as fast as we could...and literally the minute he unlocked the doors and we got in the storm stopped. Hike = fail.
Thankfully this year was a little different. We left Bangor around 6:15am, and actually had Megan and Taylor (two of my sisters) join us! We started the day off on a great note, because they were BOTH on time. (Actually, Taylor arrived 10 minutes early and already had a coffee....seriously...world record). Neither of them had ever been, so we decided Gulf Hagas was the perfect hike. Taylor brought her dog, Boris, with us.....which we weren't initially super excited about, but he turned out to be a fabulous hiking partner.
We weren't sure it would ever happen, but it actually got hot this year - so the hike was pretty sticky...but trust me I'm not complaining! The first part of the full Gulf Hagas loop trail is through the woods. You have to cross one river (pretty wide, but only about knee deep during the summer) so we carried water shoes, and then after the river crossing there are lots of wooden bridges across marshy areas in the woods. Gorgeous, but definitely a mosquito breeding ground!
We stopped about halfway through our hike to eat lunch...this just happened to be where we finally came out of the woods and started seeing the rivers. We ate out on some sunny rocks, and Boris "played" in the water. (He actually kept trying to swim downstream, but Taylor kept a good eye on him).
Bringing Boris along wasn't just so Taylor could have his company, he also carried all of her gear! I'm still not sure if I think this was extremely smart, or unfair. ;-)
The trail from lunch on skirted through the woods beside the river, with plenty of "viewpoints" to check out of the gorgeous water.
I actually didn't even have my camera out for most of the prettiest parts of this hike....unfortunately the prettiest parts are also the most technical, and in an effort not to smash my camera, or teeth, I decided to leave it in my bag. You'll just have to hike it yourself to see.
As she so kindly does on our hikes, Megan took my camera and got a couple shots that I'm actually featured in....that way it doesn't look like my camera hiked without me!
We have fun. :-) I think we stopped at every viewpoint possible, and Boris kept trying to jump into the water! (yes, even off the giant cliffs....)
This hike is so beautiful, I had such a hard time putting my camera down (thus the million pictures)....but seriously, it is so hard to relate the beauty of this place.
The next rocks we got to had an amazing group of butterflies, and they were just hanging out! (I'm sure there's a reason why they were congregating, but we figured it was just for us to hang out with them)
I'm not sure what the actual name of this spot is....but it's basically the most dramatic canyon on this hike. Megan took over my camera again for a few minutes to grab some shots of Dave and I.
Meg kept telling us to smile (apparently we had camera smiles this whole time...oops) and finally tried to make us laugh - by telling us to think about Tango falling into the canyon. FAIL!
Poor Meg re-twisted her ankle walking down over some rocks....it was still pretty sore from our Tumbledown hike! She was a trooper, though, and kept right on trucking!
We stopped at this next spot because Meg was hurting pretty bad, and luckily it was a low spot where she could actually put her ankle into the cold water and "ice" it a bit.
It was a pretty long day, but so worth it. Definitely glad we had bugspray (go Dave) because we would have been eaten alive otherwise. (word to the wise, BRING BUGSPRAY) When we got back to our cars we found that people had written in the dust from driving...literally ALL OVER the cars. Not impressed. I guess that is our punishment for hiking in a popular place on a holiday - but thankfully it was only an annoyance. No permanent damage! Overall, fabulous hike!
Happy Birthday, America!
Dreamer, decorator, wife, business owner, personal fitness trainer. 20-something.