After my trip to the aviary, I was still energized and wanting more, so I headed back to Otter Creek Road to the visitor center, crossed over to the Spillway Trail, and headed out on the Lake Trail* (for a complete map, see this).
While on Lake Trail, I saw a sign for a spilt off to Ganier Ridge Trail and thought, “What the hell, why not??” I had plenty of water, plenty of time, and I had never hiked that particular trail before, so it sounded like a fun challenge. I did know that it was considered strenuous, but I figured at only 1.5 miles, I could handle the difficulty.
The first bit of the trail was more of the same dirt path found on Lake Trail, but as the hike went on, the trail got steeper and steeper until I had to stop and take a quick breather. I would feel bad huffing and puffing as much as I was, but I could see higher up on the climb a man and woman stopped, leaned against a wooden rail for support while they rested, so I didn’t fell nearly as bad after that.
After my one quick rest, I refused to stop again until I reached the top, mostly because I was afraid of losing my momentum. Once I ascended to the top of the ridge, however, there was a nice little bench calling my name where I plopped down and literally took a load off (Later I joked with my mom that the only reason I didn’t lay down on the bench was that I was afraid other hikers would take one look at my red face and call for help lol).
Once on top of Ganier Ridge, there’s no scenic view or real wow moment – there’s too many trees and no clearing for that to happen. I meandered for a while enjoying the weather before the trail began to descend back towards the lake. At the end instead of taking the long way all the way back to Lake Trail and Otter Creek Rd., I made the choice instead to take the Access Trail shortcut back to the parking lot and call it a day.
*I’ve written about these trails recently, so I’m choosing not to focus on them in this particular post, but feel free to check out some of my older posts for more details 🙂