Happy first of May! Hiking weather is officially here and I couldn't be happier! And to make things even better, I hiked my absolute favorite trail yesterday...Auxier Ridge. When I hike, I love looking at the scenery and all that is around me. When I have to stop every few feet because of an awesome view or a really cool boulder that I just have to get a picture of, well, then I consider that a great hike. And this trail has that from the start! I took so many pictures, y'all!!
These are views within the first 100 feet of the trail-head! Remember, this is a ridge trail. So get ready for amazing views for the whole 2 miles out.
They definitely named this correct! You are up on top of the mountain, right on the ridge. But let's also get to the trail itself and let me tell you why I feel it is difficult.
Besides the views, another reason I love this trail is that it isn't just walking on a dirt path. One minute it is level and smooth but then the next you are walking in a washout dodging little lizards. There are steps carved in rock....roots that have grown over the path to make the perfect steps....also, actual rock steps that I believe were just recently put in last year. Then there are the areas that you either slide down the sandstone rock or do deep knee bend steps.
Currently, I do not hike with trekking poles. It's not that I don't want to, I just have never used them during my 40-some years of hiking. But let me tell you, after this hike, I am seriously considering them. Not only for the stability they provide while going up and down hills, over rocks and thru streams, but also to prevent my hands from swelling. What do you all think of them? I would love to hear your thoughts!
Now, below is an excellent example of staying aware of the path you are on. For a split second, at this intersection I didn't know which way to go. As you can see, both paths are well worn. So my first instinct is to look for the diamond mark on the trees since I am in the Daniel Boone National Forest (other forests use different markings), and there it is staring right at me on the left. I believe the path to the right goes to some backpacking campsites. But by paying attention to the diamond I didn't waste time and have to backtrack or worse yet, get lost.
Now, on to some more amazing views! These next few pictures are from the ridge itself.
Please be safe and stay away from the edges. Yes, we have a wonderful Search & Rescue crew that does a great job, but let's do our part and not keep them busy. Aren't these views just beautiful?! I could sit up here all day. So I did! Well, not all day. Long enough to drink some water and eat a protein bar while enjoying the hefty breeze, listening to the birds and watching to see if I could see anyone across the way, over at Double Arch. But the trail didn't end here!
This is usually a site I don't love to see....stairs. But at least I am going down them! And the next few pics are views from those 113 steps!
At this point the trail ends at Courthouse Rock. You can either go back or choose to make a turn there and either go on the Courthouse Trail or Double Arch Trail. I chose Courthouse Trail because I have never been on it. But I will share more on that in another post.
Well y'all, I sure hope you enjoyed the pictures and I hope you can get out soon to hike this path. Be safe! Grab that camera and go have fun! And remember...
'Of all the paths you take in life, make sure a few of them are dirt.' - John Muir