We had a full weekend of wheeling planned, with home base in Lake George. It's not a big town, and our campground was less than ideal. We met at the campground and got set up, and we were on the trail before noon. The weather promised to be perfect, and we were off to check out the Gulches.
From Lake George, it was a quick trip to Cedar Mountain Road. We only did a bit of it though, airing down a short distance into the trail. Our first stop was a new trail for us, and we found it easily enough. The GPS told us the trail's name is Predator.
It parallels Hackett Gulch, with the actual gulch between them. It stays up on the ridge for most of it. It was right in the middle of the burn area, too. We came across a truck on its way out right after we started down the trail, and then we had it to ourselves.
It was pretty mellow for most of it, with scenic views that wouldn't have been possible if all of the trees hadn't burned away. We were cruising along when Matt asked what was smoking. We stopped to find a tree that had been hit by lightening. It wasn't only smoking -- it was actually on fire.
There were bits of exploded tree around it, with small flames and smoke coming out of the top. Matt leaned a log against it so he could get to the top, and we handed him water bottles. He dumped water on it, and put it out after a few bottles. We hung out for a bit, peeling bark away from it just in case it was hot, still. We knew we'd be back to it, so we eventually left it to check it again later on the way back by.
Then we were heading downhill fast. It was loose and rocky in spots, and we knew it would be fun on the way up. When we got to the wide spot that looked perfect for turning around, we all got out to walk the rest of it. The trail obviously continued, and after a bit of discussion we decided to go for it.
There is a rock slab along the way that was pretty fun, but then it was steep and there was nowhere to turn around. Monica made a 10-point turn in the middle of the hill while Matt and Chad went farther down to make their own 10-point turns on trail that was narrower but flatter. Though it was a fun side trail, we'd turn around at the wide spot next time.
The way back up was a blast. When we went by the tree again, the fire was still out. All was well, and we were lucky to catch it before a fire broke out. It was an interesting start to our trip! We finished up the trail and went over to do Hackett Gulch.