This was our second go-round of Ford Knoll in as many weeks. Like our first loop, we ran into no other hikers despite the fact the campground beside the trail was full this particular weekend. It was also a much nicer day for hiking, which meant we wound up taking a different part of the loop, coming out on the south side of the campground and along the river.
Even in just the one week between hikes, the look of the trail changed dramatically as it came out from the snow storm of a few weeks back and finally bloomed into early spring. The soggy damp path from the week before now had so much colour it was hard to believe it hadn't been there before. These orchids were plentiful along the early part of the trail.
The snow had cleared from the majority of the mountains. Even the same views looked like a different hike from the one we'd taken a week ago.
Something I'm terrible for forgetting to do when hiking loops -- TURN AROUND. Often what's behind you is as amazing as what you're walking towards. This range -- covered in snow the first time we hiked this and maybe for some reason not as impressive -- seemed to come out of nowhere during this hike.
As we descended, N and I encountered something I thought would be impossible on a trail so close to such a busy campground... out of nowhere a deer bounded across the trail, no more than 50 ft in front of us. Knowing deer often travel in pairs, we continued along the path cautiously, and sure enough....
Our new friend was clearly very skittish and not used to humans, so after a couple of nice photos thanks to a zoom lens, we continued on our way, and let the deer find its partner.
Not to be outdone, a little further along the trail, this guy appeared, chattering up a storm.
He was certainly a lot less skittish of humans...
Also less skittish -- the mosquitos. They were out in full force for the first time this spring. It would get worse. A lot worse.
We took the longer loop, walking along the river and eventually winding up at Forget-Me-Not pond, close to where we parked. This is the aqua-coloured pond that is clearly visiable from any viewpoint in the area due to the brilliant blue -- and entirely natural -- colour of the pond. It's a perfect place to finish off any hike.