The Cold Springs Trail is the kind of trail I imagine when I think of hiking through the forest. Dappled sunlight plays along a trail undulating beneath a dense tree canopy. Birds call from branches high over head, and little wooden bridges lead you across cool, tumbling streams. There are moments, despite the sounds of boats on the water and birds in the air, when the stillness is majestic.
It was a chill morning start, but we didn’t get more than half a mile before we were stripping our top layers off. That undulating trail can get pretty grueling when there’s no breeze to speak of. Fortunately, there are a few campsites along the way providing convenient places to rest or break free of the tree line and get down to the water. They even have semi-permanent porta potties available.
The first half of the trail is much more dense and shaded, keeping things wet and cool. As we went along, the trail opened up more to the sun, drying things out and letting in the heat. We began to walk through tall grass, where we passed a sink hole flushed out by the spring runoff. The undergrowth began to clear out, giving the forest a spacious feeling. I really enjoy hiking through this kind of terrain, where the forest is thick but doesn’t feel cramped.
According to the trailhead map, the Cold Springs Campground was five miles out, but Mikes GPS tracker put it closer to six. If you’re not boating in, or slightly crazy like us, that makes for a pretty good hike in for an overnight stay, like the Kirkwood Ranch hike we did last spring. The site would be a pleasant one to stay at, too. Maintained by Crew 170 and the Boy Scouts, it’s clean with numerous fire pits and stacks of cut logs.
We unloaded at the campsite for lunch. Sassy always appreciates being able to take off her saddle bags, and Jacob had fun running around with his older sister, Grace, exploring the area. I managed to get a picture of him tromping along with an apple slice like he owned the place, the little stud. If we were staying the night, we would have brought our swim gear and spent the rest of the day in the water. Alas, we’ll have to say, “Maybe next time…”
We really felt the heat on the way back. The air was stifling, only moving in places where the trees opened up enough to let it pass through. We began to stretch out on the trail a bit as each of us got into our own groove, but a quick game of Marco Polo would bring us back together. Jacob got in on it, too, calling out, “Mowo!”
I was really impressed with Grace (who is 7 years old) making the entire hike without asking for anyone to carry any of her stuff – or her. Poor thing, her legs started to wear out as we neared the trailhead, but she made it all the way on her, and I was proud of her for it! Jacob did well, too, without much fussing. Of course, he took two naps along the way! But he was a trooper nonetheless.
We’re aiming for Saturday, June 24th for our next hike. While we don’t have a trail picked out just yet, we are planning on being somewhere in the Clearwater National Forest, so keep an eye on the calendar for new event. The best ways to stay in touch is by signing up for our newsletter, which you can do on the bottom or right side of this page, or joining us on Facebook. Visit our Explore page to see more of what we are doing and how to get involved.
See you on the trail!