Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Hidden Passage backpacking trip

Our weekend backpacking trip was to Pickett State Park to hike Hidden Passage. This hike is about ten miles total, and our plan was to do it over three days. (Day two was going to be mostly hiking on side trails, which would have added to our total mileage.) As I indicated already, we scaled back to two days due to the steady rain the first night and second day. The hike itself is only moderate in difficulty; the most strenuous part is the side trail to Double Falls.
Hidden Passage is pretty in the distinctive Big South Fork way - lots of sandstone overhangs and little waterfalls. Apparently, however, there was a fire at the park fairly recently, leading to burnt-over sections that were more interesting than pretty. I suspect that it might be a little too hot in mid-summer because of the resulting lack of shade, but it was beautiful in winter, with ice. I imagine that spring waterfalls and fall colors are equally scenic.
We spent the night at the campsite near Double Falls. We had hoped to see the falls, but in order to do that one has to cross the creek. Supposedly it is sometimes dry, and generally wadeable, but on our visit it was several feet deep and iced over. You can see the crossing in the photo at left. Nevertheless, the campsite was quite nice, and we had it all to ourselves.
Despite the rain, we had a good time. While it made a nice, easy backpacking trip, it is eminently doable as a day hike - you won't find many hikes of this length that offer a better effort/reward ratio.

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