Wind at their backs, hikers stay warm on cold trails
Last Tuesday, three of us walked around Lake LaGrange in mid-teen temperatures with a stiff northwest wind. We went counterclockwise so that we were warmed up by the time we were exposed to the wind. All of us wore ice grippers on our boots and they were needed.
The spring hole near Kangaroo Walk was open as always and nearby water overflowed the base ice. We finished the hike as the sun was about to set.
It was a very cold and windy morning last Wednesday with the temperature in the low single digits and ten- to fifteen-mph wind. A winter wind chill advisory was in effect until noon. I did not expect many hikers and would have cancelled the hike had it been below zero or no sun, but the sun was bright and warm.
Three of us met and we decided to go to the John Muir trails which are protected from the southwest winds by trees and hills. It was a great choice as we did not encounter any wind on the three mile white trail that we hiked. With several layers of clothing we set out not expecting any others on the trail even though the trails were open to bikers as well as hikers. We did meet a couple hikers who were hiking the same trail in the opposite direction that we took. We took the counterclockwise route which is the direction hikers are supposed to take because it is against bike traffic so we can see bikers coming. The main reason we took it this day was it avoided wind in the face at the beginning of the hike if we had taken the other direction. By the time we got to the open area near the end of our hike the wind was at our back and we were warm.
Norwin spotted a red squirrel on a log near the trail. We tried to get closer to take a photo but the little critter kept going inside the rotten log and reappearing at various spots farther away from us. When reaching the end of the log he ran to the nearest tree and disappeared. Peg Oettinger had never seen a squirrel on the Muir trails before although the red squirrel is common there. We all enjoyed seeing the animal as red squirrels are cute.
Afterwards we had lunch at the Edge of Town Restaurant in Palmyra. We were joined there by Jo Steadter, Barb Senft, and Barb Roeder who normally either hike with us or ski on Wednesdays. This day they decided to only join us for lunch because of the weather.