Completed Trail Data
Trip Odometer: 9.75 Miles
Total Ascent: 1704 feet
Max Speed: 5.6 Miles Per Hour
Moving Average: 2.3 Miles Per Hour
Moving Time: 4 Hours 16 Minutes
Elapsed Time: 7 Hours, 11 Minutes
Trash Removed: 9.7 Ounces
The Vision Quest Trail was completed in 2018 and adds 1.5 miles of pathway to stomp upon at the McKenzie Conservation Area. Ted and I sought to conquer the Vision Quest Trail at the beginning of our journey at McKenzie, in the hopes we’d come away from this section of the trek, with a few new insights into life, love, hiking, and the pursuit of happiness.
“There is a delight in the hardy life of the open. There are no words that can tell the hidden spirit of the wilderness that can reveal its mystery, its melancholy and its charm. The nation behaves well if it treats the natural resources as assets which it must turn over to the next generation increased and not impaired in value.”
– President Theodore Roosevelt, Speech in Kansas, August 31st 1910
In shock and awe of what a beautiful setting the clouds and sun had formed over the horizon, Ted and I spent about two hours hanging out and enjoying the view together. These amazing views can be found only a short distance off the main Knot-Head Loop, and up the spur trail.
While dedicating the Gateway Arch at the North Entrance to Yellowstone National Park in 1903, President Theodore Roosevelt praised the successes of wildlife protection in the park.
“Here all the wild creatures of the old days are being preserved, and their overflow into the surrounding country, so long as the laws are observed by all, will ensure to the people and to their children and to their children’s children much of the old-time pleasure of the hardy life of the wilderness”
-President Theodore Roosevelt
As a hiking, camping, and all around outdoor enthusiast, I’m always on the lookout for potential wildlife. Anytime I’m outside, or in nature, I try to keep my eyes open. Likewise, I’ve also had a number of unique and interesting encounters, with a multitude of unique and unexpected creatures, over the time I’ve been stomping around, on hundreds, if not thousands of trails. So I’ve been told, that correlation does not imply causation, but in my case, what else could it be?
In his book “The Deer Family” Roosevelt wrote about his life in North Dakota:
“It was beautiful to see the red dawn quicken from the first glimmering gray in the east , and then to watch the crimson bars glint on the tops of the fantastically shaped barren hills when the sun flamed, burning and splendid, above the horizon. In the early morning the level beams brought out into sharp relief the strangely carved and channeled cliff walls of the buttes.”
On June 8th 1906, President Roosevelt signed the Antiquities Act into Law
The Antiquities Act authorized the President to declare “historic landmarks, historic and pre-historic structures, and other objects of historic and scientific interest” as National Monuments. Fundamentally, the Antiquities Act allows the President to set aside valuable public natural areas as park and conservation land. President Roosevelt established the first National Monument at Devils Tower in Wyoming, later in 1906.
As we all continued our journey to wander, over yonder, at the Saltese Uplands Conservation Area, we eventually came upon a new fork. The alternative trail at the intersection in question, also appeared to still be, untracked. Because first tracks is the option I’d always choose to take in such a situation, I began selling Gwen on the virtues of always taking first tracks. I explained that whenever the opportunity arises in life, you should always choose to take first tracks. She eventually agreed on the understanding that I must tromp down the very first, first tracks, and she would follow in the footsteps I’d be stomping down into the snow.
In his Autobiography (Published 1913), Roosevelt explained his ambitions for creating protected refuges for birds:
“The Establishment by Executive Order between March 14th, 1903, and March 4th, 1909, of fifty-one National Bird Reservations distributed in seventeen States and Territories from Puerto Rico to Hawaii and Alaska. The creation of these new reservations at once placed the United States in the front rank in the world work of bird protection. Among these reservations are the celebrated Pelican Island rookery in Indian River, Florida; The Mosquito Inlet Reservation, Florida, the northernmost home of the manatee; the extensive marshes bordering Klamath and Malheur Lakes in Oregon, formerly the scene of slaughter of ducks for market and ruthless destruction of plume birds for the military trade; the Tortugus Key, Florida, where in connection with the Carnegie Institute, experiments have been made on the homing instinct of birds; and the great bird colonies on Laysan and sister islets in Hawaii, some of the greatest colonies of sea birds in the world.”
I’m the type of person that does a fair bit of wondering with my free time. I also wonder about quite a few different topics and questions. And so, while I was hiking around at McLellan, I got to wondering about the natural history of the area. Are these little Douglas Fir trees, encroaching on habitat that was once exclusively dominated by Ponderosa Pine? I wouldn’t be able to say with any kind of certainty, but it seemed like a potential possibility.
EXECUTIVE ORDER MARCH 14TH 1903
“It is hereby ordered that Pelican Island in Indian River in section nine, township-thirty-one south, range thirty-nine east, State of Florida, be, and it is herby, reserved and set apart for the use by the Department of Agriculture as a preserve and breeding ground for native birds.”
-President Theodore Roosevelt
And with those words from the President, the first unit of the National Wildlife Refuge System was born.
Any day spent hiking, is a good day in my book. Even so, hiking in beautiful weather makes everything just a little bit better. And what a beautiful day for a hike it was! Temperatures were consistent in the upper 40’s, and the sun was out, shining bright. I couldn’t have asked for a better day to kick off the Take a Hike Project.