To Alex -

To Alex...who is far away in person, but never far from my heart. I miss you. Enjoy these snippets of everyday family life here in the states.

Sunday, September 8, 2013

Hiking to town in the rain.

So, when we hiked the Towab yesterday, there were 9 of us because 2 of our crew were going to take the flag-down train out to base camp with climbing gear and a cooler of food. But, and there's always a but when you plan something like this, there was a washout of the tracks and the train didn't run, which meant they had to come up with an alternate plan for getting to us. That plan consisted of ditching the climbing gear as well as most of the food that was in the cooler, a descent into the canyon through the bush and fording a river. They made it, but today a team is heading back out to fetch the climbing gear, which we deemed absolutely necessary, and the food. The rest of us are feeling full of ourselves after our 'epic' trek in the wilderness and we will be hiking up the tracks into 'town' to see what sort of adventures we can rustle up.

I awoke at 7am feeling refreshed. I lay in my sack thinking about the day before and I couldn't help but smile. Holy crap! I did 15 miles yesterday of super freakin' hard trail! And I scaled the side of a canyon...and I didn't quit! What in the world can this day possibly hold for me that will compare? With that thought I nearly giggled, I may have, but I couldn't wait to see what this day would bring.

Rain gear was a requirement as we left camp though it was mostly a drizzle or light rain for the duration of our time away. The hike was filled with happy chatter and comments about how beautiful this area was, and lots of talk on how happy we were to be done with the first part of the trail. Yes, there was only fun in our future. And plenty of beautiful scenery.
Bridal Veil Falls

 Black Beaver Falls

Town was actually the tourist stop from the Agawa Canyon Tour Train and we arrived quite a while before the train was due. While we chatted with the town workers the rain picked up and we were compelled to seek shelter in a nearby pavilion to eat our lunch. Hehe, then we noticed the side tracks with the fun rail cars...and as we were dressed appropriately for the weather already, well, we might as well go play.
It's great to hike with upbeat, adventurous companions. So much fun, so much laughter, so much hi jinks.

Hey, we haven't climbed enough, let's take the 327 steps up to the lookout tower! We counted, there was no sign telling how many steps there were, but the view was worth it. The rains let up and the clouds pulled back just long enough for us to get pictures.

 Agawa River
Once the train arrived, we climbed aboard for a very enjoyable cup of coffee and while there, we struck up a conversation with one of the train workers and found she was a performer for Les Miserable. She graciously serenaded us with an acapella rendition of A Dream Is a Wish Your Heart Makes and it was beautiful! Geez, the things that happen in the woods!
Oh, and we weren't done playing either. We stayed in town long enough for the tourists to reboard the train for their return trip to the station, but while waiting for the train to depart, some of our team decided to entertain the tourists. One person began to step dance, another decided to run, leap into the air and kick her feet together, which, of course, made others try as well. At one point we became very animated and excited as we pointed to 'something' on the wall of the canyon across the river and sure enough, everyone at the train windows started craning their necks to see what we were pointing at....which was nothing, but we laughed so hard and the passengers were laughing as well. Ridiculous, but that's the caliber of people I was hiking with...they were up for any fun.

Then it was back to camp to meet up with the other team, share our stories and hear about their adventures as we cooked our dinners, and we laughed...and laughed....and laughed.
This wonderful day ended with a nutty game of Mafia, which I had never played before, but I will surely play again.

By the way, if you really want to know about hidden gems in an area you'll be hiking, ask the locals. They have so much knowledge to share that isn't in any travel brochure.

So ends Day 3.


  1. Hi, I was googling where to get Taiwanese dan bing in Kalamazoo and I found your blog comment from 2008 that there is a Taiwanase restaurant in KMZ where they offer it. Could you please tell me what is the name of that restaurant and where could I find it? Thanks a lot!

    1. Pavel, it was an offer from the owner of Hunan Gardens, 7157 W Q Ave, Kalamazoo, MI. It's not on the menu, but the owner offered to make it special for me since my date was very close friends with him. I have yet to find it on a menu in W. Michigan and that's too bad because it's such a popular dish with anyone who has been to Taiwan. I've tried to make it myself without success. I can get the flavor, but not the consistency. Good luck in your quest to find it.