February 25, 2010
Dan complained yesterday, after his hike around Blacktail, that he could feel he had not been hiking lately. So he suggested we tackle the Stronghold today as that is our ultimate conditioning hike that is close-by. I was a little concerned about the condition of the trail with all the moisture we have had lately, but mud is water soluble. As it turned out, the Forest Service had done a lot of work to divert the water off the trail.
We were already surprised to have to cross water coming into the Stronghold as the road crosses the creek in several spots which are usually dry, but when we got out of the car you could hear the water running. It was almost a river.
The trail follows the creek for more than a mile and it was wonderful to see that the vegetation had already perked up from all that rain: the oaks were fresh and green, the desert plants turgid. Everything looked happy, and the sound of the water over the rocks and the little waterfalls was enchanting.
When we got to Half Moon Tank, it was full and overflowing. We have never seen so much water in it. Lately it had been bone dry, and I remember a small, muddy pool in better times. Emma, being a happy Lab, immediately plunged in and brought a branch to shore that apparently needed to be retrieved.
We do wonder whether the Stronghold was in the national news lately: we have never seen so many people on our hike. And that on a Thursday!