Gals Throw Down Poles: Use Hands, Butts to Handle Class III Climbing
Tower Rock State Park can be a simple hike up a trail or it can be a technical climb to the top of the actual Tower Rock, requiring--or at least recommended-- rope. Five of the GiG did something in between, mastering Class III climbing as we went off trail and scrambled up the rocks, having to use our hands and feet much of the way.
Kuntzie took lead on the climbing section, finding the best routes, while also being the brave one going first down the scary parts. We only had one slight fall--and on the trail--not the climbing area. Often the trail seemed worse than the climbing as it is steep and covered with small pebbles that act like ball bearings, making it quite slippery.
After getting to the top and admiring the views, we headed across the top rocks to make a loop before leaving. Kuntzie navigated over the rocks, which were precipitous at times, to lead us to the next set of boulders, which all required hands, dropping our poles and sliding with footholds, only to do the same again on the next set of rocks.
We met at 10 a.m. for the 30-minute drive to the park, and got on trail quickly in the cool air. We soon warmed on the very vertical climb to the base of Tower Rock. Along the way, we saw several types of wild flowers: arrow-leaf balsam root, fritillary (yellow bell), sumac, pasque flower, early buttercups and one shooting star. On top, we saw phlox and cut-leaf daisy.
The trip was a very good one to get us in shape, with our quads and calves as well as lungs getting a good work out going up/down the trail and our balance and route-finding skills warming up on the off-trail, climbing sections.
We didn't see the resident mule deer herd, which was a bit of a disappointment, but we did see their sign, so they are still around, just probably feeding in the fields for the day.
We arrived back in town by 1:30. And best of all--no ticks.