On May 20th I returned to the Knobstone Trail. I started at the Pixely Road Trailhead, which is a two space dirt parking area. My goal today was Mile 13. As usual, I climbed straight up a hill as soon as I stepped off of the road. It had rained overnight, and it was a little muddy, which means slick. After the initial climb, the trail got pretty easy, and there are great views in this section. It was a very enjoyable 2 miles. Then at about 11.75 it happened.
I could hear a road, and some people talking. At this point the trail drops out from under you. There are some steps cut in with timbers anchored to the ground with rebar. A lot of the steps are damaged or missing, and there is rebar sticking up out of the wet, slippery hillside everywhere. At several points going down this hill I stopped and looked back. I was seriously thinking about turning back. I also looked at the map to see if I could road hike back to the truck, were I to survive the descent. I eventually reached the bottom, and took a break by a stream. The voices were from a group I assume was waiting to be picked up just down the road.
That is about one tenth of the hill, and it looks a lot easier than it is, FYI. Be sure to look at the elevation chart at the end of this post.
Eventually I started again, of course up a hill. Once on top of that ridge the trail again was very smooth and pretty easy. I reached 13 in no time, and considered going on for at least another half mile. But climbing back up that hill behind me was really concerning me. Again I consulted the map. It was just to far by road. So back I went. When I reached the Mt. Everest want to be, I took my time, and was extremely careful. Once I scaled that, it was off to the races. When I reached Pixley Knob Road I was feeling pretty proud of my tired self. As I popped out onto the road and looked toward the truck, I got my last godsmack of the day. It was actually uphill the last 500 feet to the truck.
Again, I stress, this trail is serious. It is not well maintained, which is good. But it could hurt you. Younger and thinner will help. Take enough water, a life straw, and emergency items. My phone and GPS have worked almost all of the first 13 miles, so there is comfort in that. I am not trying to scare anyone from hiking here. It’s a great trail. Just know what you are getting into. And remember, I only saw 4 people on the trail in 4 sections, plus the small group leaving on this day.
I will return to The KT later this year when it is cooler and the bugs start to clear out. My hope is to reach Mile 25 this year. Until then, thank you for reading me. I will continue to post my other adventures.