Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Another Season...Over!

K and I hiked up to the cave on Saturday to kiss it goodbye for the winter. What a lovely day! The weather was perfect for hiking, the leaves were pretty, and we saw lots of ranger friends as well as regular hikers on the trail. So many people to say "hi" to. I ended up batting Royce's tour while K visited with a few rangers. He hiked around to the exit to meet me and we walked down together, for the last time this season. So. Many. Memories. I opened this blog post with a photo of the sun rising up over the mountain and peeking down into the canyon. The sun is rising. Do you see the moon? It is setting. So much symbolism in one photograph, as amateur as my photography can be. Sigh.

Approaching Quarter Way.

Good ol' Kodachrome.

It's mid to late October. It has snowed up there on the cave trail. And yet, stuff still grows. Right out of the rock. Every living thing is programmed to do its best! No matter the opposition it will face in the near future (cold, snow), that green cutie is just doing its thing right up until it can't do it any longer.

Lesson learned! If there's one thing I know how to do really well on that trail, this would be it! Oh, the experiences I've had! The sounds I've heard! The number of times I've yelled, "ROOOOOOOOOOOOOOCK!" The slides I've seen... Earlier this season, I felt ill. I went to the doctor because of it. My white blood cell count was high and my kidney function was low. I ended up telling the doctor (not my usual doc) I was pretty stressed out about potential rockfall at the cave. He asked me all these questions about depression and anxiety. I explained I felt fine otherwise, but that I really worried about a big slide or something happening at the cave. THAT VERY NIGHT, there was a huge storm and the cave trail was closed the whole next day because that much rock had to be shoveled. In fact, the Canyon Road was closed that next day because there were slides all the way across. After that, I felt fine. My levels were back to normal. You can call me crazy, but I truly believe that I "know" that mountain. I was wondering how much saturation it could take before things really had to slough off. I've learned over the years that after a big slough, things are usually fine the rest of the season. And they were. The end.

Stuff they've found during construction. Is that a GIN bottle? Heh, heh, heh.

Wonder how Packrat feels about all THIS?

New shelter over new steps near exit shelter.

This is the lovely industrial-strength chicken wire that has been strung above the exit shelter to protect workers during construction from rockfall. There were a few chunky rocks (football size) up there, dutifully caught by said wire.

These are the new steps going up to the exit shelter. K said that none of those steps were in place a couple of weeks ago. "None of those pillars had been built two weeks ago," he stated. So, things are coming along. Hopefully they can finish before more snow flies (because, yes, people...the snow has already flown up there). Hopefully things will be back to normal, that elusive memory, next year.

A little fall color on the trail. By the way, Nancy's Earthquake Monitor was not in place. Grrrr...

The rangers were all very smiley on Saturday. Do you know why? It was their LAST Saturday of the season! Oh, just kidding. Rangers lover rangering, but that park can make a body tired. K and I popped into the VC on our way down just for a quick minute. We could totally SMELL the party in the back room. Not sure what was on the menu, but we wondered if all the other visitors noticed the same thing. Those VUA's sure know how to put on a spread with nothing more than a crockpot and a smoothie machine.

Goodbye, Cave. 'Til Spring, then.

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