Hiking in a Forest Alone
I chose a trail that doesn't see much traffic and may be a forgotten gem. It flows like a tunnel with a narrow lane that opens to the sunlight only in a few spots throughout. Have you ever hiked a trail alone? And I mean alone as in nobody else on the trail.
As I drove out of Darrington on the Mountain Loop Highway, it was hard not to notice that hunting season was in full swing. There was a trail that I had my mind on, recalling my youthful summers growing up in Granite Falls staying awake late nights flipping through old Harvey Manning and Ira Springs hiking guide books. They used to call this trail Bedal Basin though I see it listed as Bedal Creek Trail (Click for directions) on the US Forest Service website.
Don't get me wrong, I am sure that the basin is still there, but my goal was to find a trail that guaranteed I wouldn't see anybody... Especially hunters.
The road did not advertise a trail and it was in poor shape. I don't think it had one pothole, but the steep parts were rutted, showing signs of water damage. Though the worst was a huge dip that scared me into thinking this trail will soon lose all access.
Once reaching the roads end, there was a 4x4 post without a sign on it any longer and a small turn around. Despite the rough road up, there was plenty of trash around (Not like a junkyard, but more than most).
I put a bottle of water in my pocket and started out. The soft skinny trail was quiet under my trail runners and it was dark from the forest canopy that was never touched by logging. This added up to an overly quiet atmosphere.
I felt like an explorer as I was trying to imagine the amount of hikers that this trail has seen in recent years. Very few!
Glimpses of the creek took most away most of the quiet, but I didn't mind because it was a different kind of noise. Once reaching the spot where the trail finally crosses Bedal Creek I decided that I would call this my turning around spot. A waterfall here completed the process of taking my journey from completely quiet, to completely noisy and I was still all alone.
On my return trip it was just the opposite; Noisy to quiet. My appreciation for the forest grew, viewing it now from the other direction. The moss was extra green and the large trees were endless. Things that I would normally pass by without noticing now stuck out like the orange safety vest I wore.
When I got back to my car I wanted to go again....