|Icy creek along Herman Creek|
I had hiked Herman Creek that morning in clear, frosty weather. If you’re looking for a hike along a noisy creek or even views of this canyon’s rushing stream at a distance – look elsewhere, this is not the hike for you. Glimpses of the creek through a quarter mile of trees can be counted on a single hand. The trail rises well above the creek and stays there. You can hear it. You’ll know it’s there, but you can’t see it.
|A small tree receives a few sunrays through Herman Creek's forest|
The highlights of this trail include two waterfalls and a few views across the canyon to the western ridge. Much of the first half of the hike is along an old dirt road. My turnaround was at a couple of campsites among old growth granddaddies nearly 4 miles in, just beyond where the trail crosses Casey Creek.
|One of the two water falls along the trail|
|Rugged canyon walls above Herman Creek|
I didn’t need to test the boulders this time for ice, knowing that using them to navigate my way across the creek meant either a broken or bruised coccyx or noggin. So, I stepped on smaller rocks just below the creek’s surface, trying not to soak my feet, despite wearing waterproof boots. That is when I lost my balance and, to gain it back, unknowingly stepped on one of the boulders covered with a half-inch of ice. Fortunately, my momentum was forward, and while falling, I was able to get my hands out in front of me, stopping my complete submersion in the creek. Unfortunately, one of my feet sank into a deep portion of the creek, partially filling my boot with icy water before I could scramble to the other shore. But that was about it. Had I took a bath in the water I don’t know how this little trek would have ended.
|Ice covered log and odd shaped icicles hanging above creek|
As it was, my pants were soaked, but only from my shin down. My boot had water in it and my sock was soaked. The first thing I thought of was how cold it was in the canyon. The sun had come up, but the forest’s canopy kept the forest floor icy.
|Second waterfall along Herman Creek Trail|
“Great,” I thought to myself, “a four mile hike out with a frozen foot.” Actually, I had other clothing I could have used to fashion a sock if needed, but didn’t really want to ruin a good sweatshirt by cutting it up.
|An oak grove among the firs lines the trail|
After about a mile, my foot had warmed up quite nicely. Despite the icy trail and watching most of my steps on the return, mostly downhill trip, I made it back to the trailhead and my truck without breaking a hip or suffering from hypothermia.
It’s good to be in the woods.