Hiking My Way To Vanalden Cave & Vista
An unplanned hiking trip with a somewhat happy ending.
This was an unplanned, last-minute hike to Vanalden Cave. I had ordered new pairs of hiking boots and when they arrived, I decided to test them out on the trail. I wasn't sure where to head out to per se and decided to walk through Marvin Braude. However, upon looking at my trail map, I saw Vanalden wasn't so far off and decided to head in that direction. Unfortunately, the boots were an absolute nightmare and made this the hiking trip from hell.
With my partially sore feet, I continued on my path towards the cave, missing it twice and retracing my steps to the right trail path. Eventually, I arrived and understood why the cave has so many missed reviews. The graffiti wasn't so appealing and it's pretty unkempt in general. There were a few broken glasses, ashes, burnt-out candles, and beer cans in several corners... it was a bit disappointing.
Doing my best to appreciate the beauty left of the cave, I ignored the dirt and roamed around the cave. It still had its natural form and beauty beneath it all. Some of the art was fun to stare at and the outlines of the cave were well defined and appealing to the eyes of my camera. Sadly, my foot was starting to heat up pretty bad and I still needed to cover the vista point. I headed off in that direction, being extra careful to not stump my toes any further in the oversized boots.
The journey to the vista point was pretty nice and peaceful, although the flies were a bit annoying. I hate that I wasn't able to fully enjoy my journey up there but once I reached the vista, I forgot my pain for a few minutes. I didn't last long up there because it started getting really hot and the pain was becoming unbearable. It's a miracle I didn't take my boots off while heading back to my vehicle.
Getting home, I tossed those boots as far away from me as possible. My foot was swollen, toes and ankles bruised pretty badly, it was going to be that kind of day. I sat down, legs elevated with ice, and admired the photos taken. It was good compensation for not having the time needed in person, to appreciate the view fully. Vanalden was good while it lasted, but sadly, not one of my favorite hiking trails.