OK. So this is what I get for trying something new!
Turns out evening hikes may not be all they're cracked up to be!
But I'm getting ahead of myself.
Right now (Apr 26) I have about two hours left until pretty-dang-dark. Just time enough, I thought, for any easy 3 mile, out and back, stroll along the flat section of the Upper South Prong Trail.
That would get me past the backpacking camp to the base of Mildly Terrifying. Which I had absolutely no intention of tackling this evening!
The view up the canyon from the trailhead didn't show a lot of promise for a photo-worthy sunset, but it is what it is.
It should still be a pleasant, if unusual for me, way to spend the evening.
At least that was the plan - until -
I'm not even a half-mile up the trail when this guy wanders into my path.
No! Literally! That's the trail there under his feet and he chose this moment to step out onto it. Like he'd been reading my diary and was lurking behind a bush this evening just waiting for me to come along.
He's one of the two bachelor-bulls wandering around this end of the park at the moment.
One of them, so a ranger tells me, is pretty mild and sweet, the other - not so much.
Think unsupervised, frustrated, angst-ridden, angry teenage boy.
And guess which one this is!
I tried to reason with him.
I told him that if he just moved over a little I would slip on by and go on my way, leaving him alone, but he ignored my diplomatic efforts by plopping down right in my way and proceeding to take a dust-bath.
You might think, this being the canyon floor, that I could easily detour around him to 'go on my way', but you'd be wrong!
The canyon floor is a complex network of steep gullies, sharp rises, and thick - well - thickets of sharp, prickly stuff.
So you know what?!
When looking back I can't quite see camp from here so maybe it's OK to just turn around and cut this hike short, because - you know - I'm not all that into evening hikes in the first place.
So I turn around with the intent of cutting this experiment short.
At least that was the idea, but then, after a few steps towards the sanctuary of The Van I look over my shoulder and -
Holy Crap on a Cracker!!
Oh man! I really hope that was only a fart that just blasted out of me! If this keeps up maybe I should start carrying spare underwear when I'm hiking!
OK. So he may be more trotting than running, but either way, with his four legs to my two he is definitely covering ground faster than me!
So I stop screwing around with the camera and pick up my own pace, looking for a high spot I can scramble up.
Not that he can't also climb that bank over there, but at least it will slow him down some. (And no, I wasn't taking photos at the time. I took this shot of my 'refuge' after the fact.)
Fortunately, once I veered off the trail he didn't follow, but he did take his own sweet time lingering around down there just below me (And I'm pretty sure I heard him chuckling.)
before finally wandering over the bank and down into the river-bed, far away - OK, somewhat away - from the trail but pretty dang close to camp. (Notice the red tent there in the background.)
At this point, since a furtive check showed my underwear was still clean-ish, I had two choices when I eased myself back down off that high-ground to the now, and hopefully future-ly, vacant trail. I could either slink back to camp or buck-up and resume my interrupted hike.
Yeah, that's right,
smart or not, I "bucked-up", retraced my steps to the scene of The Chase, and resumed said interrupted hike.
And I know I heard some snickering from The Guardian as I went by her with my heart still at runaway speed.
And yes, it's pretty pathetic, but after all I went through to get here I was going to get my sunset-from-the-trail photo - dang it!