Waking up on Wednesday morning I was excited, it was my long hike day. I hadn’t made any final decisions about where i would be going, I just knew I was going! So off to the local visitors center I went for my information. It has so much information about local hikes, local attractions, national parks, history information, weather and road conditions, so I always stop by there first before going anywhere. I finally decided on going to Bestfriend’s Animal Santuary since they own over 3700 and leases another 17,000 acres of state and federal land. Needless to say they have some land to hike on. 😉 I packed up my hiking backpack, grabbed some food to eat on the way, and put on my new hiking sandals (its summer, still have to sport some type of sandals lol).
Since I had never hiked at Bestfriend’s I thought it would be a smart idea to get some general information about the land, which was all obtainable at their welcoming center. Upon talking with a tour guide we both kind of decided that the “Hidden Lake Trail” would be best choice for me. Honestly I wanted to hike it mostly because I had never seen a lake underground, so the thought intrigued me. This specific trail though is accessible by a 4×4 vehicle so you could literally drive up to the mouth of the lake, but wheres the fun in that! I received two maps, which were very helpful, one to the beginning of the trail ( to navigate through bestfriends) and one of the trail itself. I stopped at some scenic places before I even started my hike, the first one was called “Petroglyph Rock“
It was on this big boulder that you had to walk around to the back side to really see these wonders. Everything thats on the property has been authenticated, so its really real! For me, the best part was knowing that whoever carved these was really trying to tell a story. I was thinking that maybe the upside triangle on the top left was maybe the symbol for earth, and the lines for for water? But that is pure my opinion, leave some comments if you know about what any of these symbols might actually mean, would love to find out!
The next cool little spot before my actual hike was “The Disney Barn” was built by the Disney Company, back when Kanab was known as Little Hollywood and was a filming location for many western films, this old barn now finds itself on Best Friends’ horse pastures. It was used as a prop in the movie ” One Little Indian ” made in the 1973. Everything about that barn is still the same as when they built it, except for the roof, that was the only thing they updated about it. There wasnt a whole lot to do at this spot besides look at the beauty of it, you could however pet the horses that are lucky enough to graze this grass, but they were no-where near me when I visited.
The next spot I went to was just a really great scenic view, nothing historic, or famous about it, but that’s what made it perfect! the raw nature of it! While standing there absorbing in everything I took a moment to just stop and listen. It was the most peaceful nothingness I have ever heard! Even better than some of the most popular songs of today’s day and age. I could have just sat there all day and listen to it, but alas I still had a hike to experience. So I went on about my way, excited as to what else I might be seeing.
Hah ha! I finally made it to the trail head, which is a marked trail so it makes it easier to find. I pulled off to the side of the road, grabbed my bags, and set off on my hike. It was only going to be around 1.25 miles all together, which is fairly easy if you have an hour to spend. The map I picked up at the welcome center made it pretty easy to follow, plus the tire marks made it really easy to know exactly where to go. On the hike there was actually an authenticated “Indian Ancient Rune” site, so I made that a definite place to stop along my hike. Its on the same trail just a small detour that connects back to the main trail so you cant get lost! Now I dont know what other people believe, but as for as me I have a big connection with white butterflies, in my family a white butterfly usually represents one of my younger cousins who past away a couple years ago at the age of 12, so I was surprised when I started seeing these white butterflies following me around.It made the hike and the whole experience so much more meaningful! The runes were very interesting just because i really couldnt figure out what the heck they might have been used for. Maybe a sacred sleeping ground, a birthing place, maybe the first cribs? It definitely made my noodle work for some crazy ideas.
I made it back to the main trail, which led up to another horse pasture on the property. This part made me very excited since horses are my favorite animal! growing up in a mostly city area of California there wasn’t many places I could go to easily find some horses, unless you count passing cars on the freeway, so I was ecstatic I had these horses all to myself. There were two horses and one mule (I think). One of the horses was friendly while the other one was more reserved. The mule was actually the one i spent the majority of the time with, he had long fuzzy ears with this soft fur right at the top of his head, and his favorite spot for me to scratch was right on the sides of his face. He was the one that actually came the closest to me and let me give him the most love, which made me one happy girl! They all looked like older animals so unfortunately I couldn’t imagine riding them (awe) but just spending some time there with them was very enjoyable! I can see why many people come from all over the world to volunteer at this great place!
After passing the horses the hidden lake is maybe about a ten minute walk. I didn’t know what to expect really so i proceeded with caution, again every scary movie with weird lake monsters flashed into my head (damn movies!), but it was really very calm! The mouth of the cave is big enough to stand under so its provides enough light to see to the back of the cave when your eyes have adjusted. It was also very cooler! I’m not great at guesstimating, but i would say it was at least twenty degrees cooler down there, enough to cause some chills after sitting there for as long as I did. Thats right, all I did was just sit there and stare, stare into the abyss of the lake and think. Think about anything and everything, how this lake was formed, is it connected to anything, how was it discovered, was there any fish, how many other underground lakes there are in Utah, how does the water level grow or decreases. After sitting there by myself for about fifteen minutes I hear some either cars or atv’s approaching, so I sit patiently letting them experience it for themselves, they actually have a tour guide with them, which was awesome on my part because some of my questions were answered without ever having to ask! The lake was discovered by some rancher’s cows! Cows, yes! They would always crowd around this one area, so the ranchers got curious and decided to drill from the top down, when they broke through they knew a cave was underneath, so they began to dig away the front of the cave to reveal the lake. The lake if flowing underground but very stagnant on top, some locals who also have lakes nearby one year decided to put some water dye in the water to track where it flows, and it sure enough showed up in the hidden lake, which means they are all somehow connected. The water levels fluctuatte between it raining or during the winter time he said the water level raises in the cave. After answering all of their questions they decided to leave, leaving me alone once more with this beautiful hidden treasure, of course like any place that hold an echo I decided to have a singing session, I recorded it once and decided I will never make it onto American Idol, but I’m ok with that (lol). Maybe ten more minutes passed and again, another tour group came up, from this tour guide I found out that this cave leaks into the horse pasture that I first saw, which is why it was so green. They never have to water it because it self waters. How eco-friendly! 😉
Overall, this was by far one of the coolest hikes i have been on yet, just because of every contributing factor of my experience. The petroglyphs, the barn, the horses, the runes, the awesome acoustic singing session, and the pure nature.
Now then, after every hike I usually go on I reward myself with some awesome ice cream! Bestfriend’s has it’s own cafe, so I figured, alright lets head there and see what they have. The map that I had of the area was eay to follow to get to the cafe, the parking however was a little crazy and not as easy to find. Turns out everything in the cafe is vegan, so it was also a new culinary experience for me! The food was amazing though! I really think I would come back to eat there, it was a buffet style and only cost $5 per person, which is really affordable.
Sorry Bestfriend’s, your going to be seeing a lot more of me! Bestfriends Animal Sanctuary