Tuesday, May 31, 2005

Topo, Anyone?

Saturday and Sunday of this Memorial Day weekend, we drove about an hour outside of Laramie and did a two-day hike in the Platte River Wilderness. We had planned to make it a three-day hike, but when it started raining on Sunday, that plan changed. I mean, we don't have to be out there when it's raining, and it's not actually fun to be out there when it's raining, so why should we?

The Platte River Wilderness is a lovely section, with trails that are not too strenuous. The trails there are lacking one thing however: signage. The first 5 miles or so (on Saturday) were lovely. Hiking through forests and down along the sides of a creek. We only lost the trail a couple of times, once when it crossed a creek and we didn't -- instead, we hiked uphill for about 30 minutes, following what looked like a trail but turned out to be someone else's diversion. Just around the corner from that crossing (once we found the trail again) we found a fantastic little campsite, where someone had taken the time to dig out fairly flat spots for a couple of tents. Fairly flat, I say, because we slid downhill most of the night, in our sil-nylon tent. Will probably have to do something about that (the sliding part, I mean -- we can't do much about the campsite being set on a hill).

The next day, we decided to follow the Platte Ridge Trail to its intersection with the Douglas Creek Trail. Mind you, we had no topographical map, as the guy at the Forest Service office in Laramie had pooh-poohed the notion of needing a topo map in the Platte River Wilderness. At one point, where the Platte Ridge Trail was supposed to branch to the east and the west (I think), there was only a stump of a signpost left; no direction at all except for a few odd symbols cut into the trees. What exactly did that orange arrow mean? I'll never know.

Needless to say, we never found where the Platte Ridge Trail and the Douglas Creek Trail intersect. Instead, we hiked through a good bit of marshy swampy trail and then decided we'd had enough. As it was, we hiked about 13 miles on Sunday, enough to merit a big cheeseburger in Woods Landing. With homemade fries that were heaven itself, and not on my diet.

Monday we spent cleaning up and putting away our gear. And tonight we have company for dinner and to spend the night, so I must push away from the keyboard and get around to putting sheets on the bed in the guest room.

1 comment:

P said...

Oh wow! This sounds like precisely the kind of hike I'm looking for during my downtime this summer. Can you email me with directions and whatever map advice you have?