Wednesday, July 10, 2013

The Limbo Trail

When John takes you on a hike
Every trail is not alike

Some are long and some are steep
Others rocky, brushy, deep

If the word "bushwhack" is used
That should really give you clues

You may twist, stumble, flail
Hikin' on the Limbo Trail

(sung to the tune of the Limbo song)

How looow can you go?

I should've known what we were in for.  Anytime my hiking friend John mentions he'd like to check out an old, overgrown trail that "might be sort of a bushwhack" you'd better hang on tight to your trekking poles.  But this time I think even John met his match on the Sedum Ridge, aka "the Limbo" Trail.
(La la la, la-la, la-la)

Bushwhacking through the forest

John loves to discover new places to hike.  Browsing an old book, he stumbled upon the Sedum Ridge Trail, located northwest of Stevenson, WA.  Although appearing to have fallen into disrepair, John was itching to check it out anyway.  The grand plan was to hike 5 miles up Sedum Ridge, where it would connect to the Pacific Crest Trail (PCT), have lunch at Sedum Point, and then follow the PCT 5 miles back to its intersection with a gravel Forest Service Road.

A few columbine flowers were blooming

Since the plan was to return a different way, we had to leave a couple of shuttle vehicles at the PCT trailhead.  Although John had gps coordinates where the Sedum Ridge Trail intersected with the road, it still took some time and bushwhacking to locate it's actual starting point.  This, along with locating and leaving vehicles at the other end, made for a late start.

Steve's trail clearing attempts

Trailhead located and vehicles in place, our group of seven plunged into the woods.  In addition to John our leader, today's hikers included Doreen, John and Young (my skiing buddies), yet another Jon, and Steve (who after mistakenly being called John, was told to change his name to conform with the other three guys)

Old forgotten bridge

The bushwhacking began immediately.  We scrambled up a brushy ridge, and then down to a creek, where due to a heavily damaged bridge, we had to rock-hop.  Up the other side, pushing branches out of our path, everyone got the first limbo challenge, ducking under huge two fallen trees.  (Limbo low now, how loooowww can you goooo??)

Up and over the blowdown

Thus began an obstacle course of hopping over roots, rocks, and bushes while ducking swinging branches.  With the occasional blow down tree to climb over - or under (yep, the backpacking limbo!)
In some areas our path was completely overgrown, while other times we could walk by without getting hit by something green and leafy.  I stuck close to my hiking buddies - the trail was so sketchy I was afraid if I got separated, I'd never find my way out!  (La la la, la-la, la-la)

Wonderful lunch spot at Sedum Point

Constantly maneuvering around obstacles, hopping downed trees, and ducking bushes started to take its toll.  We all began to wear out.  People started stumbling, and most everyone tripped and fell at least once.  While crossing over a blow down, I whapped my knee on a tree branch, and the pain was so great it took all I had not to yell some four-letter words.

Lots of flowers to be found!

There were jokes about this trail being so unused that maybe we'd see Sasquatch.  Occasionally someone would teasingly point to some ripped leaves or peeled bark as evidence he'd passed this way.  But I think Sasquatch was way too smart to be hiking on a trail like this. 

Bright pink penstemon

Noon passed with still no sight of the PCT.  The crummy trail had slowed the group down so much John declared we were behind schedule and tried to hurry us along.  But tired, sore, hungry hikers are not a happy bunch, and I'm afraid John would've had a mutiny on his hands if we weren't relying on his navigation skills to get us out of there.

Beargrass bonanza!

Finally, about 1:30, we finally came upon the PCT.  What a welcome sight!  John directed us to Sedum Point, a high clear knob not far away, for a most-welcome lunch break. 

Although it involved a steep climb to reach, all ill thoughts against John were forgiven when we reached the top.  An incredible view awaited - rolling hills, wooded valleys, blooming flowers, and Mts. Hood and Adams anchored the skyline.  The sun warmed our tired bodies as we reclined in the grassy slopes to refuel.  Truly worth the wait.  Lunch spots don't get any better any this.

Tons of beargrass poofs

After gulping down my lunch, I wandered the top of Sedum Point, snapping photos of all the lovely wildflowers showing off their colors.  (And I may have taken a few embarrassing photos of my friends with food in their mouths.)  The beargrass was in full bloom nearby, and I captured many images of its white, poofy tufts.

The fields went on and on...

After a well-deserved and relaxing break, it was time to shoulder our packs and head down the PCT to our vehicles.  Compared to the rough, brushy morning's trek, the PCT felt like a superhighway!  Wide, flat, well-graded, with nothing to hop over, twist around or trip you up, my friends and I moved like we had jet engines on our backs.  (La la la, la-la, la-la)

Beargrass paparazzi

One thing did stop us - beargrass.  Tons and tons of beargrass.  The trailsides were chock-full of white fluffy blooms.  Everyone whipped out cameras to capture the amazing beauty.  Even John conceded, and joined in the photography fun.  It's obviously a good year for beargrass - I haven't seen such concentrations of this plant in bloom for many seasons.

Crossing one of the many scenic creeks

After our photographing frenzy it was back on the trail, heading mostly downhill to the road.  The PCT passed through some lovely old growth forests, crossed a couple of cute streams, and skirted an interesting rock cliff.  Although growing weary from our tough morning, I found the final miles quite enjoyable.  But, don't get me wrong, I was mighty happy to see the road and our vehicles!

After that trail, we all deserve beer!

To conclude a limb-stretching hike like this, there was but one thing to do - go to the pub and celebrate with some local brews.  After tackling that trail it was agreed we all deserved a beer (at least one!)

Thanks John for such a challenging day.  I feel much more limber now!  (La la la, la-la, la-la!)

Sharing with:  The 52 Photos Project, Gallery 12 and Share Your Cup Thursday.


  1. Super post! Looks like you had a wonderful adventure.
    Sasquatch was over on the other side of the mountain..
    he says hi!

  2. Your photos are beautiful! Now I want to book a flight back to Colorado and hike and camp for a week or two.

  3. My kind of hike! And today I venture to the wilds of the shopping mall. Not fair.

  4. Love the wildflowers--gorgeous! And the view from the top--incredible!
    Have a great day:)

  5. There are hundreds of miles of unmaintained trails like these in the Smokies, many of which connect to the Appalachian Trail much like yours connected to the PCT. No way I'd attempt one in the summer with or without any experienced trekker. Too much poison ivy and too many things that slither. But having said that, this looked like fun. Maybe more fun for me, the reader than for you, the bushwacker!!

  6. That was some workout but well rewarded by the views at your lunch stop and all those beautiful wild flowers.

  7. That lunch break view of Mt Hood and the spectacular wild flowers certainly rewarded you for all your effort.

  8. Sounds like a rewarding- and scenic- day! Nice photos. I would love to put on my hiking shoes and tackle this trail :)

  9. I love trails like that, and the old bridge is awesome. Nice shots!

  10. Hikes like this one are what blogs are best for. Instead of reducing it down to one sentence ("gee, once we did a hard hike with a great view") you have captured all of it in words and your always-beautiful photos. Well done!

  11. Well that was one heck of a bushwack. The thrill for me was seeing a section of the PCT.

    question - how bad are the ticks and the poison ivy out your way? We seem to have an overabundance of both in Illinos and Kentucky.

  12. Awesome shots. I wish I'd been on that hike for sure!

  13. Beautiful photos! It's amazing how all is forgiven when reaching a beautiful view at the top!

  14. oh I'm so jealous....there is no hiking around here...:( Looks like a wonderful fun thing to do! Thanks for the photos...they were great!

  15. It's so pretty there! Definitely looks like a challenging hike. But fun too :) I love all the pretty flowers you saw along the way.

  16. What a wonderful and tiring day you had. I love hiking.

  17. Love it! Sounds like a wonderful time and beautiful photos as always :)

  18. It's a great year for beargrass over here in Montana too! Looks like a fun hike!

  19. I really enjoyed this post!! What an incredible walk even if it was rather difficult at times. Makes you think of the explorers of old. Is John going back with a machete to clear it properly for other walkers?! I've never heard of bear grass interesting!! Thanks so much for another stimulating post. Joan

  20. Wow ! Great post and what a hike ~ Photography of nature's beautiful flowers are excellent and fun photos too of the hike and people ~ Thanks for sharing this.

    Congrats and Cheers to you ^_^

  21. Looks like a fun workout with rewarding views! Thanks for sharing your photos.

  22. Looks like fun! Beautiful flower shots too!

  23. Oh my Linda, what an adventure! Would loved to have explored that trail and done a little bushwhacking of my own. lol! The Bear grass (which I have never heard of or seen before) was breathtaking! Loved all of your gorgeous flower shots! Thanks for sharing with SYC.

  24. I could almost smell these gorgeous blossoms! Thank you for sharing.


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