With my full pack on my back and walking poles in my hands, I was ready for the adventure to begin. I was only slightly intimidated by the name of the trail. I pondered why someone would call it Hell’s Hole Trail. Is there some kind of a deep and dark, bat filled hole at the end of this trail? Is it a horribly, difficult, hike that I am going to be regretting not long into the trek? What have I got myself into?
There was a bit of incline as part of the trail. But what goes up must come down. And when we hit the major decent, we came across a nice small, yet powerfully flowing creek. It appeared that the trail ended where we stopped but it turns out it continued for another four miles or so and that is when you got to Hell. We decided that we were good with the two miles or so that we hiked and would not embark on the rest of the trail.
Through a dense and thorny section of forest we came across a wide open plain and this is where we decided to camp for the night. It was level and right close to the creek which would be perfect for our water refill the following morning. The only minor problem was the not knowing if we were on private property. I was imagining an angry farmer with a large, sharp pitchfork coming at us, yelling and screaming while wearing his overalls and untied boots. Thankfully, this did not happen.
Due to how dry the climate has been there was a ban on fires of any sorts. So, our attention was paid to the creek. The flowing, bubbling, creek. It’s amazing how long you can sit and stare at something. I did take a little cat nap in the sunbeams like a lizard basking in the sunshine. It felt amazing to lay in the warmth and just take in the smell of the pine trees and the sounds of the rustling creek that was within mere feet from my resting space.
A game of Scrabble Slam helped us pass the time as we sat on our mat next to the baby riverbed. And that turned into amazing, deep, conversations. It’s quite interesting how much is left unsaid when you have a phone in your hands, and then on the flip side how much more is spoken when technology is not distracting you from the people that are within your inner circle.
With aid of our jet boil, we had an amazing Indian Cuisine, specifically Indian Vegetable Korma, with all thanks and credit going to Good to Go (https://goodto-go.com/). Little to no salt, and only ingredients that I could pronounce and my empty stomach after a day of hiking was filled. It was better than some of the Indian Food that I have attempted to cook, and I would say that I am a decent cook. The next morning’s breakfast was equally delectable. A simple oatmeal that was filled with all sorts of yummy goodness and sustenance to help give me the fuel that I needed to hike out of the canyon.
Sunday morning there was nothing in me that was looking forward to the hike out. After a night where I DID sleep, but it was restless and disturbed due to my toes being cold, and my wonderful light weight travel pillow slipping around like a wet fish. I clocked a good ten hours of sleep, although much of that was disturbed with “awakefulness” per my Fitbit. Post breakfast, and another short session of laying on the mat, soaking in the morning sun, I mustered up the strength to hike out of the canyon. I am not ashamed to admit that there was some stopping to catch thy breath on the way towards the car. And how did I look forward to the decline that I knew was approaching towards the end of the trail.
When we arrived at the car, we had a light snack and just sat for a little bit. I reflected on the fact that I had completed my second successful backpacking trip and how amazing that felt. How I felt good from the top of my head to the bottom of my toes (the blisters had not set in quite yet). And that I was ready for the next item on the list and that was Abbey Way Trail.