Today I set out for The Knobstone Escarpment Trail again. It has been 4 months since I walked there. My plan today was to start at the New Chapel Trailhead, which is just past Mile Marker 17, and walk back to MM 13, which is where I left off back in May.
I got to the parking area about 8:00 AM. No cars. That is important, because most of these trail heads have very limited parking. I started out downhill, and then came to a stair step soon after. Bad. That means I am going to finish today walking uphill. I got to the bottom and then there was a kind of weird section that winds through some little hills. Eventually you get into a creek bottom that is pretty easy, other than the little banks you have to negotiate every time you cross it. Then just past MM 16 you go up onto a ridge. Pretty easy climb. From there is was a breeze and by the time I got to MM 14 I was thinking about how this is the easiest section I have done so far. Now, you all know what happens right after you think that. Right?
This is what happens. Down I went. At the bottom is of course a creek bed. I lost the trail here, and had to arc back and forth for a few minutes to pick it up again. Then the thing that always happens right after the picture above happened, of course.
Yeah! What fun. It started raining too, but it was just noise up in the treetops. It never really reached the ground. I forgot to mention, it was cloudy and about 60 degrees all day. Really humid, but still not to bad for hiking. Up I went, and then a brisk march to MM 13, today’s goal. I made it there in 2 hours and 10 minutes. It was 5 miles exactly, so that is a pretty good pace for this trail, for me. I took a break, reported in, and started back.
There are a lot of briars along this trail. And some kind of low weed that has obscured the trail in places. There were a couple of stretches where someone had carried a weed eater out there and cleared the trail back. Weird. They need to bring a chain saw for two downed trees right at MM 17.
As Warren Zezon once sang, “Draw blood”, or as I am about to say, ” It is not a hike until someone is bleeding”. The Zevon reference is to the last line in Werewolves of London. I bet you have to go listen now, don’t you?
The return was interesting. It went pretty well, although I did notice, from time to time, some sections that I didn’t remember from 2 hours before on the out bound. I checked the GPS frequently. No other trail around. Has to be the right one. All was well until after the creek bed, in the little hilly winding section. My knees both started to hurt from all of the downhill. A lot. I also started getting tired. The last mile was pretty tough, especially the last little uphill section. But I did it. And in pretty good time as well. I saw not one other person today on the trail. I did see water a trail angel had left just off of a strange little paved one lane road through the woods. I didn’t need any, but I left my empties there. I hope they don’t think me rude. Please look at the charts below. And thank you for reading me. I appreciate it a lot.