Pleasant Hike Goes Horribly Wrong

Now it is late September and we felt like we could take a hike in the woods without being assaulted by gnats, ticks, mosquitoes and horseflies. Very near is a series of trails that are used for hiking in the summer and cross-country skiing in the winter, called Jones Spring. Jim likes them because they are loop trails, not “out and back”… he gets bored easily.

We pulled into the parking lot at the trail head. While getting organized a lady pulled in next to us accompanied by a two-year-old, energetic, enthusiastic black lab. As you tend to do when encountering fellow hikers, we introduced ourselves. It turns out her name is Laura L. We struck up conversation as we walked along and Laura L. had the same idea as we did: hike the yellow loop trail.

When we got to the start of the yellow loop trail, there was tape over the entrance and signs indicating, due to recent rains the trail was boggy and impassable. So we three agreed to take the longer red loop trail instead. While more aggressive and difficult due to several steep hills, it was nothing we have not done before and we plodded along, while the Labrador ran back and forth, accumulating 3 to 4 times the distance we were walking and taking every opportunity to jump into lakes, streams, puddles, wherever water could be found. When she was not running back and forth, the dog would pick up sticks, bring them to us and drop them expecting us to throw them for her to fetch. After a while this got old.

For two hours and 5 miles, it was a pleasant, early Fall, bug-free hike. Then it went sideways. It turns out the red loop trail, joined up with the yellow loop trail. With no warning, we wound up coming into the boggy, impassable area from the back.

Jim was in the lead and began to try to walk through the mud. He quickly sank up to his knees and became stuck. Trying to pull one foot out only caused the other foot to sink deeper. There was nothing to grab to try to extricate himself. He just kept sinking deeper while Laura and Laura looked on in horror.

Jim was carrying the backpack and managed to throw it to Laura K. Meanwhile Laura L. got a big tree limb and passed it to Jim. Now with both hands free and something to hold on to, Jim was able to begin pulling one foot out, but his foot was pulling out of his shoe. Anyway, slowly and with many expletives, he was able to extract himself. But now we were still faced with getting through the rest of the bog. And now the insects appeared, clouds of gnats, ferocious mosquitoes and horseflies, just to make us more miserable.

Obviously we got through it, bites, stinky mud, scratches and all. Jim thanks both Lauras for rescuing him. If it weren’t for them he would be entombed in mud only to be discovered centuries in the future.

Well, no one died and it makes for an interesting tale.  Sorry we were too preoccupied to take pictures while Jim was stuck in the mud, but here are some after-shots.

Ouch, scrapes, mosquito bites, mud, didn’t even know were happening.
Rear view.
Front view. Socks were a total loss, working on cleaning and drying hiking boots.

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