On March 23rd, the weather was cloudy and flurries were forecast so we didn’t want to stray too far away from the Metro area. The Timberlea Bluff Wilderness trail just 15 minutes west of downtown, a trail I had been meaning to check out for a long time (I used to live very close to this trail) was the choice for the day.
Starting out at about 10AM from the BLT trail, from where the bluff trail is also accessed, was still snow covered. There is about 0.5 km walk from the parking area to the trailhead. The first 1.0 km is common to the trail sub-system where you can then decide how you want your hike to proceed. There are four stacked loops – Pot Lake loop, Indian Hill loop, The Bluff loop and Hay Marsh loop that comprise the system totalling up to a possible 30km of hiking.
The landscape is almost lunar – huge rocks with sparse forestry as we start out along the Pot lake loop. The trail is snow-packed with not allot of footsteps ahead of us – a fairly quiet day on the trail. Strangely, my nose starts to run and my head gets achy which is unusual for me. It really doesn’t hit me at the time but I was feeling the first effects of seasonal allergies – early in the season.
Clouds are moving in and knowing that we would be breaking trail in the snow on the next loop, we decide to limit our hike to just one loop this day which allows us to relax a bit and enjoy the remainder of our hike. We take a break to do one of my favorite things – fire up the little pocket rocket stove, boil some water and enjoy a mug of hot apple cider and a packed breakfast sandwich for a snack. My buddy fires up his BioLite stove using some dry twigs and brings it to the point where it can actually generate power to charge a cell phone, for example. It was fun to see the potential of this neat little stove and see it in action. Good fun!
The trail is busy by early afternoon – a testament to people’s desire to get outdoors after a very long dreary winter!