There are many trails around here I had never hiked. I thought they would be boring. They appeared to be long forest slogs, taking forever to get to any sort of view. I can sort of be forgiven for this, because I live in a pretty spectacular area. Why hike a "boring" trail when there are so many beautiful places to go?
My friends wanted to hike to a lake in the park. As I threw a puffy jacket and Clif bars in my pack, I envisioned a cloud of mosquitoes, endless trees, and lots of other hikers. In addition, it was 17 miles. But I'm usually up for anything, and it could be a one and done, no need to re-do this trail.
There was only one car at the trailhead. We started hiking up a steep ridge. To my surprise, because of a recent forest fire, sweeping mountain views soon appeared. Mysterious large green meadows lay far below the trail, probably hidden to hikers before the flames. The vistas only got better as we descended into the valley.
The lake sat in a cirque of tall peaks. A waterfall roared down from a hidden lake high above. If this trail were shorter, it would be overrun by people, but we only saw a solo woman leaving the lake as we arrived, toting a fishing pole and camera tripod.
We ate lunch in the sunshine next to the water, marveling at our good fortune to have it all to ourselves. As we hiked out, we only saw two more people, who looked like they were struggling as they crested the ridge and probably wouldn't make it to the lake. Other potential hikers probably sped by this trail, like me thinking erroneously that it would be a long, boring haul. Like me, they were wrong.
If nothing else, this pandemic has taught me, once again, not to take things for granted. There are other hidden treasures out there, and I intend to find them.