When out-of-town friends come to stay who have never been here before we always want to show them everything we love about this place. It's so hard to squeeze everything into their short visits and, of course, we can't. One of our favorite hikes is practically in our own back yard, the Devil's Marbleyard. To get there you have to hike for about 40 minutes on the Belfast Trail which gets increasingly steeper as you go and then finally you see "the rocks". There's no way to describe them and pictures never do them justice.
I took one of our guests this week to do this hike with me. I think she was a little bit apprehensive at first but when she started climbing on the boulders I could see she was won over by the beauty, the experience, the views and, most important, the challenge.
We saw a really cool lizard that was bronze in color and had a blue belly. You may have to double click on this picture to see the belly.
On the way down the mountain we picked huckleberries (small blueberries) that were very sweet and tasty. In another few weeks there will be many more to be picked. James and I have tried growing blueberries many times with very little success so I'm amazed how these huckleberries grow out of the cracks in rocks and in this very dry soil.
Not far away from the Belfast Trail is a really cool swimming hole called the straw pond. We had planned on jumping in after the hike but there were several people there which spoiled the whole experience so I just showed Kathy. We discovered this swimming hole many years ago when we read about it in Outdoor Magazine. It was described by the author as one of his favorite swimming holes in the world. It got its name, the straw pond, because the locals tell us it used to freeze and they would cover it with straw to keep it frozen so they could cut ice from it for their refrigeration. I wonder how long ago it was that someone did that.
It was a great hike with lots of laughs and good conversation but today my knees are a little sore. Anyone who comes to visit, ask us to take you here. We've yet to encounter anyone who didn't love it.
If you Google Devil's Marbleyard you'll see many pictures of it that are better than mine.