|Auxier Ridge trailhead|
The Auxier Ridge trail is located at the end of Tunnel Ridge Road and the large parking lot came equipped with a clean vault toilet which we were very thankful for. The trail is exactly what the name promises, following the ridge and therefore the first leg of our hike was fairly easy. Luckily it wasn't too foggy and we could enjoy the surroundings, but the views down into the valley were not happening.
On the plus side, all that morning fog made for some fun photo subjects along the ridge.
Sharon used my lollygagging as opportunities to rest, and she found some steps cut into the rock for her first one. Of course we couldn't pass up the chance to get our glamour shots taken there.
I just loved the exposed rock on Auxier Ridge, it came in a variety of colors and was beautifully sculpted by years of erosion.
|see the fine grains of sandstone sand?|
The trail (#204) is about 2 miles out to Courthouse Rock, and in the future I would hike it as an "out-and-back" but we did the loop hike with Courthouse Rock (#202) trail for a total of 5 miles that day. While on the ridge we saw all kinds of interesting things including evidence of a past forest fire in 2010 caused by campers and animal scat in two different spots that had us wondering what was hunting up there and what was it finding? Hopefully it wasn't domestic dog droppings.
As long as whatever-it-was was small enough not to be hunting us, right? Black bears are in the area though, so know your bear safety and pack out your food and trash. Not that they hunt people, but did you read that recent article about the GPS study of the grizzlies who are following hunters in Montana?
|alone on the ridge...as far as we know, anyway|
Nothing was following us (that we know of) not even humans. As with our other hikes that week we had the place all to ourselves the entire 2 miles out to Courthouse Rock.
We kept hoping the fog would start lifting because as we got closer to Beehive Rock we knew we were missing some great views. As we approached I thought I'd slither down the side a bit to see if I could get a shot of Beehive Rock from a different angle.
|Beehive Rock at the end of the left|
The Beehive probably wouldn't be visible from that spot when the leaves were on the trees, but I'm glad I was snooping around because I found there was a little cave under the rock we had been standing on along the trail.
|Mama cave and baby cave|
Inside the cave there was a little ledge to sit my camera on and set the timer for a selfie. I got a picture here of the ledge, but you'll have to wait to see the selfie until the last post. It turned out to be my favorite picture I have taken of myself.
|anyone calling that tiny cave within the cave its home, I wonder?|
We pressed on to the Beehive, getting a chance to take in some impressive views of Auxier Ridge and the way the trail narrowed as it continued on.
Sharon was a bit nervous as I scooted around near the edge, but I reassured her I wasn't as crazy as I looked and I wasn't getting too close to the edge. I have a healthy respect for the dangers of falling.
Despite my hiking I'm not the most graceful girl around and I know it!
I made my way right out to a ledge near the Beehive. Don't worry, there was another wide ledge right underneath me, and I was only a few feet from my camera as I set up the timer and tried multiple times to get into my shot. As I sat there all I could think was that this was my idea of a place to stop and have a cup of tea or coffee. Even the Beehive itself looked like it was steaming!
But this was only one of the many great attractions on the trail. Things got interesting as we moved past the Beehive and the ridge narrowed. Sharon was a little nervous, but I was thought it was the cat's meow or perhaps I should say the bee's knees! Part two tomorrow.
Speaking of the cat's meow, the flea baths are all done. Pumpkin apparently brought fleas home with him when he and Katrina moved back in with us. We did not have a batch of happy kitties around our house last night. Can you believe I didn't even think of photographing the traumatic event? Trina did take one of the perpetrator after his soaking.
|This flea ridden rascal is 14 years old and missing half his teeth, can you believe it?|
Katrina and Wayne were the washers, I was in charge of timing the amount of time the shampoo had to stay on the assembly line of cats to be tortured. Sounds like a sweet deal except then I was also in charge of all the laundry and vacuuming of the beds. Thank goodness we don't have carpet or upholstery due to allergies, hopefully our efforts will be enough to prevent re-infestation.