I am totally guilty of taking my friends on a few bushwhacks! But it is all part of the fun of the adventure, especially when you are rewarded with one of the best lunch spots on earth. Welcome Linda Williams to the blog today as she describes her trek on the Limbo Trail. Linda is a Hike Like A Woman contributor, and we’re excited to have her as part of our team.
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)
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.
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.
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).
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??)
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)
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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)
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.
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!
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!)
Linda Williams Bio:
I’m a 50-something mother of two kids who are grown and on their own. I work full time as a civil engineer for the City of Portland, Oregon, Transportation Bureau. I’m a rabid photographer, hiker, and skier. An adventurer at heart, there’s nothing I love more than exploring my beautiful home state of Oregon. With camera in hand, I tackle the trails of the amazing Pacific Northwest. In winter, I trade hiking boots for skis and gleefully head to the mountains. I enjoy sharing photos and stories on my blog, Linda’s Lens, https://photomomlinda.blogspot.com/ and on Instagram https://www.instagram.com/lindaslens13/. Join me for the ride!