The Summit Creek Trail is the back half of the Balancing Rock Trail, one my handyman talked about here. The Summit Creek runs under Highway 3, a short highway walk from the Balancing Rock parking area. The trail head starts at the bridge. We parked just off the north side of the road, right before the bridge, it means a walk along the highway either going or coming. If you want to further your walk, you can dip down into the Creston Valley Wildlife Management Area at the Summit Creek Park Trail to the Canada Trail and on over to the Marsh Trail to the parking area.
We set out on a beautiful day. Bop had the backpack with lunch, both had good shoes and I had the hiking poles. Never used them before, but it was kind of like using cross-country ski poles. They were pretty much invaluable. Light weight and fully adjustable, they made the walk much easier for me.
Once you get under the bridge the trail pretty much goes straight up. Well, slight exaggeration, but for a non-hiker like myself, it felt like it. I thought I was going to keel over. My heart was racing, is this a good thing? We zig-zagged up the switch back trail, I kept hoping each turn was the last! About half way up we stopped for a few minutes. Handyman, Bop, had packed along his axe because on a previous trip he had found some dead fall over the trail that had not been cleared. Thank you Lord for dead fall.
While Bop was chopping branches and clearing the trail, I was leaning on those wonderful hiking poles and catching my breath. I managed to get a few pictures as well. There were a few spring flowers decorating the hills.
Finally we crested the top, although it was not apparent until we started to head down. That sounds odd, but it was not like you had a clear view to see in either direction. We cross over what looked like a road then started down toward a river of skunk cabbage. They were beautiful as the blooms were just coming out. It was like a river of yellow blooms. Granted a bit smelly but still pretty.
The trail skirts the swamp/river/skunk cabbage and you arrive on a board walk. At this point, you can turn right and go up Creston Mountain and a waterfall, I was told. We followed the boardwalk left, heading towards Balancing Rock. This time we found the 400 lb boulder. This is also where we stopped for our picnic. We sat on a bench with views of the whole valley before us.
Descending the Balancing Rock Trail I was very grateful for the walking poles. It saves the knees and ankles. It was a beautiful hike and took us approximately 3-4 hours, including lunch and bushwhacking. The last part, walking along the highway was not much fun, but over all, I would do this again.