On April 27th, 1 week after the Pit of Misery fiasco, I was back at the Jackson Road Trailhead. My goal today was Pixley Knob Road. Mile 9.5 or thereabout.
By studying the topo map, I felt that I could walk along the ridge from the parking lot and catch the trail at Mile 7, thereby avoiding the Pit of Misery. Brilliant! Off I went down an old logging road. A really pretty day with a lot of great views. I kept looking over the edge for the trail, but I didn’t see it. Then I came to a road, which I followed a little way to what looked like trail access. It kind of seemed like a driveway, but no one shot at me, and there were some signs as if it was a horse trail ahead. Presently I started to descend a limestone outcropping/trail. This went on for a while, then leveled out, and viola! The trail. I made a left and headed for Pixely Knob Road. I did meet a turkey hunter on this section. This was a pretty easy section and I made fast time to the goal, then headed back.
I crossed my earlier trail and followed the KT toward Mile 8, which was in the bottom of yet another of the Seven Pits of Hell. There was water in the bottom of this one too. The trail actually went in the water for a little way. I encountered two hikers there, and we also saw a tent camp that appeared to belong to several people, who were not around at the time. Right there the trail started to go straight up a cliff. well, OK, a really steep hill. This is a really interesting section because you can look over into the 2012 tornado damage area. There is still metal debris wrapped up in the trees 100 feet in the air. Here I started to see a lot of little lizards, and one really long snake.
Once the trail leveled off a little bit, I started moving along pretty well, and watching for the logging road I had been on earlier. Finally, when the trail started to head down again I veered off to the right. Boom. The logging road was there, 10 yards away. The sun must have been in my eyes earlier.
I was feeling kind of disgusted with myself for avoiding the 1st Pit, again, but who would know? While I was mulling that over, a small animal noise caught my attention. I stopped, and there on the edge of the trail, 20 feet away, was a little critter. I thought first it was a newborn bear cub, and started to think about running, which is not something I can probably do very well.
I then realized it was in fact a baby Bobcat. A kitten? I took a couple of pictures and passed by a few dozen yards. Looking back, I saw there was a pile of logging debris right there which I assumed contained a den. Wildlife sightings don’t get any better than that, right? Once I reached the truck, I texted my DNR acquaintance and reported the location. I also did a little research on the magic phone and determined the kitten would likely be ok, a summation my acquaintance soon validated.
This is a great section of this trail, and no I actually have not walked from Mile 6 to 7 on the trail itself, but I saw a Bobcat. So it’s good.