Thirty-two TrailBlazers, both old and new, headed for Lake Alma on a bright and sunny fall morning.  If truth be told, it was glaringly sunny for those of us who were driving east on I-40 toward Alma!  We were pleased to meet some brand new hikers as well as some of the newbies from our kickoff picnic last week who were willing to come back for more!

Three score and four, maybe more, TrailBlazers headed to Devil’s Den once again for our 15th Kickoff Picnic to start our new hiking season. We were pleased to see a large number of newcomers as well as our regulars.  It was a beautiful day but warm and muggy for those of us who hiked.

 

Jim Warnock, our fellow club member and friend, once again gave us a great presentation of his recent trip as well as a book that he has recently written. Jim and 4 friends went out to California to do a marathon hike on the John Muir Trail in the high sierras.  The first hurdle was getting hiking permits that are on a lottery system with only a lucky few being successful.  These guys were savvy hikers so they knew what kind of equipment to bring including bear canisters to keep Yogi Bear and his cohorts from stealing their food!

 

Twenty-one TrailBlazers once again headed to Montana for Glacier Caper #3 and lodged at Mountain Cleft, the same place as Glacier #2, but this time the center of the park was not blocked with snow!  There were many more visitors than the previous times, possibly because this is the 100th, Anniversary of the National Parks.  Parking was a big headache, so we realized after day one that we would have to leave the house at 7:00 am to go anywhere!  Cruising around looking for a parking place gets really old!  We only had 2 cans of bear spray but there were so many hikers that there were only a couple of bear encounters while hiking and our camera buffs loved them.  In addition to black bears and grizzlies, others saw mountain goats, bighorn sheep, moose, mountain lion, deer, ground squirrels, chipmunks, marmots, free range cattle, and bison.

Thirty TrailBlazers, a small but mighty band, once again ended the season at Devil’s Den.  We were happy to see some new faces, friends and relatives of members. In a startling, mindboggling change for the TrailBlazers, we had our picnic on a Saturday due to problems making arrangements to use the pavilion on Sunday.  A couple of us, unaccustomed to and uncomfortable with change, almost missed the event by planning to show up on Sunday!  We had great weather, a little warm and muggy, but there were some occasional breezes.

Oh, so sad! We did our next-to-last hike of the season on this cool May morning at a new hiking trail for the TrailBlazers. Thirteen hikers, one dog, and one bird hiked the Rookery Trail at Lake Sequoyah.  That's east of Fayetteville on Hwy 16 just before you get to Elkins.

Twenty-seven TrailBlazers were pleased to welcome several newcomers and/or first timers to hike to three waterfalls located in the same general area.  The weather was bright, sunny and quite warm, or downright hot in the opinion of Yours Truly!  The greenery along the drive was just a forerunner of what we would see on the trails.