Advanced Hike: Lake Bethany

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6 May 2013


Last week I wrote about a hike around Maltby Lakes. In the spirit of enjoying a perfect 70 degree day and using my new RWC passes, I decided to do what I thought would be a relatively easy hike at Lake Bethany-wrong! This turned out to be an advanced hike for a variety of reasons.

Hikes can go downhill real quick, here’s what I’m happy I brought along:

A buddy and us stayed together. Never hike alone. When you are hiking in hundreds of acres and the trails become unmarked, all trees begin to look the same, you can become lost very quickly. Should you have an accident, you’ll be glad someone came along and if you manage to traverse the steepest decent of your life you’ll want another person there to see you in your glory! I was happy to have a cheerleader with me and someone to corroborate my achievement (in my mind it was AWESOME)! I know I didn’t just imagine it.

My backpack, compass (seriously, when you are lost you’ll be glad you did and thank you to Girl Scouts for teaching me to use one), sweatshirt (as you hike down into crevasse, the temperature drops more than 30 degrees), tick & bug spray (as you sweat you need to re-apply it), food (1 hour can turn into 4 hours in a blink of an eye) and a watch.

As wonderfully marked as Maltby Lake trails were, it was the polar opposite for Lake Bethany. This is NOT a hike for kids or anyone who is not in good physical shape. Moss covered rocks, trap rock, broken gravel, unmarked sections, trees to climb over are just a few of the challenges.

Although there is a blue trail marked on the map near the white trail which circles the lake, there are blue trail markers all over the woods off the orange trail. There are also fresh tire tracks and permit signs for loggers. There are numerous trees all over the trails from Nemo and other storms which have not yet been cleared off the trails. And trash, lots of trash-how sad.

The red trail was terribly marked and that began my/our time being disoriented and grateful for the compass. The “short but challenging” .1 mile decent to the river and described on the brochure for me/us turned into a level 7 (out of 10) decent to the river from more than 400 feet above. In fairness we descended in a different spot than the yellow marker which we couldn’t find. It’s one of those situations where you realize you should have gear with you and in hindsight we’re lucky we didn’t get more hurt than some scrapes and bruises.

We didn’t see any wildlife, frogs or fish. The trees are in rough shape from logging and aside from the mentioned steep river decent, nothing stellar about this property.

Have you been before? What do you think? Maybe Sunday just wasn’t my day?

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