The Hidden Lake

Our brave troupe was in a real pickle now. After hiking miles over old trail and bushwhacking literally dozens of yards through trackless wilderness, they found themselves confronted by a nearly unsurmountable obstacle.

Scout The Wonder Dog cast his gaze about and noticed that the stream was but a mere trickle and there was a faint path leading down into the chasm. He casually walked down that faint path, leading the way across and over to the other side. The sense of relief felt by our hardy travelers was palpable.

What waited a few hundred feet down the track was a broad sunlit clearing beside which glittered a jewel in the forest: The Hidden Lake

It had even been decorated by previous visitors who were perhaps intent on things other than hiking and camping.

Famished by their ordeal, our brave explorers set about taking nutritious and tasty lunches and snacks from their packs and consuming them with relish. And other condiments.

Soon spirits were rising, although some still remained somewhat frumpy.

While Scout The Wonder Dog, knowing his Duty, stood guard.

After lunches were consumed, water filtered and bottles replenished, they hoisted their packs once again upon their backs and shoulders and set forth to see what the afternoon would bring. Several areas around the Hidden lake had been cleared and a sign proclaimed that this area was designated a "wildlife food plot" through a co-operative program between the State of Texas and the National Forest Service. Animal sign suggested that the area was mainly a food plot for feral hogs.

They continued down the track, which from Hidden Lake north is a Forest Service Road, towards its intersection with Four Notch Loop and encountered evidence of another Forest Service project.

Funds from the sale of lumber help defray the cost of running the park, and creates clearings for the animal food plots.

The clearing activity, along with the attendant road building in the area had the unintended effect of obscuring the point at which the Four Notch Loop intersected the and when the GPS was consulted, it was discovered that they had walked past it. Runners were sent in both directions down the track until the intersection was discovered and the troupe headed south towards the intersection of Four Notch with the Lone Star Hiking Trail, where they would make camp and await the arrival of important supplies.

Late in the afternoon, after a hike of what the Official Distance Recorder (Spaceweasel) reported to be 35 miles, they arrived at thier destination.

Soon, a camp was up and running

And a fire lit

Spaceweasel displayed some of his Ninja skills by bending stainless steel rods around his shoulders

While Patrick peered into the bushes looking for small wooldand animals.

And Scout The Wonder Dog took a well earned rest.

But Spaceweaseal reminded them that after 47 miles of hiking, a dinner would be required and soon, or their strength would be sapped and they may not be able to make it out alive.

"Where are the supplies?" he asked "After 52 miles, we're all pretty hungry!"

But the trail was empty in both directions.

"Sixty seven miles and no food!" wailed Spaceweaseal. "Not even the Cookie Coon can save us if we don't get food!"

After a day of trudging through trackless wilderness, encountering obstacle after obstacle, our brave band sits once again on the precipice of disaster!

Will they be able to survive their time in the wilderness? Will they ever return to thier families? Will Spaceweaseal ever get a pedometer that will accurately report distance?

Part 4 may hold the answer.