After too many days renovating the house and reinventing the yard, I thought it was time for a play day. My wife was at an art show, the sun was shining and the contractors had yet to show up. Time to get some elevation under me!
I had done some hiking before and should have know better, but for the reasons already stated I chose to hike the Balancing Rock Trail in the early afternoon of an unseasonably warm day without water and without company. Not smart, but the trail was only 4km long and how bad can it be?
The Balancing Rock Trail is noted for a bridge, a waterfall and a 400 ton boulder that the retreating glacier decided not to take back with it. The trailhead is near the Creston Valley Wildlife Management Area (CVWMA) and well signed. So off I went.
It has an inauspicious start, jig jagging under a power line. Shade was scarce and I started to regret not taking any water. After about half an hour I came upon a look out, complete with bench and pine tree for shade. Tempting, but I had several kilometers to go before returning to the vehicle, so I did not stay long.
As often happens when a trail passes through a rocky patch with little undergrowth, the way became unclear, but after a false start I found it again and carried on. This time the trail passed through trees, down a hill and onto a board walk, bordered by skunk cabbage, with huge elephant-ear leaves. Then it was up hill again, angling south and offering spectacular views of the valley. Sword fern did its best to cover the trail and the willows and aspens were beginning to carpet the ground with leaves that had fulfilled their summer purpose. One had to watch for the trail. Further on the trail branched. The right branch went up to a high rock wall. The rock was wet and mosses grew at the bottom of it. Although no water ran down the face, I assumed this was the waterfall. Seeing there was no way up the face I turned back and followed the left fork hoping to find the 400 ton granite boulder. Unfortunately I ran out of time before that could happen and I started back to the trail head. Next time I would start earlier AND carry water.
(The next day my wife and I were talking to someone who knew the trail. The boulder, she said, is a little past the bench. You can see it through the trees apparently. Now I really have to go back) Bop