ROUND AND ROUND
you ever had one of those days when you work all day and accomplish
nothing?† Well, I can top it.† I spent last week working in
hung out that night, and I was up early the next morning to check my flight
options.† I was booked on a flight from
eventually made it out of
had Monday off, so I took Saucony for a hike.† I wasnít in the mood for a long drive (lots
of travel will do that to you), so I decided to visit
an 80 minute drive, I parked in the large lot at the main trailhead at the end
of the road.† For this visit, I decided
to hike some trails Iíd never experienced before.† In addition, I would make another visit to
My hike started on the Jacob Fork River Trail, sort of.† This trail begins on the Hemlock Nature Trail, but immediately crosses the river.† Unfortunately, this is one of the parkís missing bridges.† I didnít realize this though, because the park map seems to indicate that the river trail begins at the other end of the parking lot.† I headed that way, and wandered around near the picnic shelter for awhile before deciding that the trail had to be on the opposite side of the river.† Fortunately, water levels were low, and I didnít have any trouble rock hopping.† I found the trail on the far side and headed downstream.† A few minutes later I reached the Raven Rock Trail at a bridge.† I headed up this trail, which is a rather uninspiring dirt road.† After a moderate climb, I reached a junction with the Upper Falls Trail.† I followed this trail back down to the river, and rock hopped again.† On the far side I found a lovely designated campground in an open, grassy forest.† This campground is one of the nicer ones in the park, though itís worth noting that it is on the opposite side of the river from what is shown on the map.
few minutes later I reached the trail to
Some time later, we backtracked to the Upper Falls Trail.† I continued west on this trail, which is also an old road.† Frequent ups and downs keep this stretch of trail from becoming monotonous, and there was one nice view across the headwaters of Jacobs Fork to Benn Knob, the highest point in the park.† In addition, blooming mountain laurel along the trail added color.
Some time later, I left the road for the Jacobs Branch trail.† This footpath was a nice change of pace, at least until it started climbing straight uphill.† Fortunately the climb didnít last long.† I joined the Fox Trail, and some time later I reached the Fox Trail campsites in a large meadow.† This camping area provided a sunny, breezy, quiet place for lunch.
After lunch, I followed the Lower CCC trail and the Headquarters Trail.† I passed more wildflowers along the way, including a couple of Pink Lady Slippers and a single Trillium.† I returned to the trailhead on the Shinny Creek Trail, which was another nice change from the old roads I had been following.† This trail also had several steep ups and downs, as well as a couple of minor creek crossings.† I was almost at the trailhead when I passed two families heading in the other direction.† They were the first people Iíd seen all day.† I returned to the car at 3pm, having covered around 10 or 12 miles.† Sometime in the future, Iíd like to backpack in the park.† The park features nice backcountry sites.† Most are scenic and feature amenities such as fire grates, picnic tables, and privies.† Of the ones I saw, Upper falls was my favorite.†
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