Friday, October 25, 2013

Older

But not necessarily wiser.

Since The Day was looking greyish and just too depressingly Fallish, I took today off instead to celebrate the passing of mumblemumblemumble years.  And because I'm too dumb to rest on my laurels and just relax I headed out to Michaux State Forest up the road in Pennsylvania to do the Chimney Rocks loop hike.

I hate Fall.  It gets cold and I have to close up the house, which makes me feel like I'm suffocating.  And it invariably leads to Winter.  Which I hate even more.  I'm a creature of Spring and Summer.  But.  Days like today make it OK for a while.

I had the trail to myself, and that's OK - it was clear and crisp and windy and there was just the quiet of the woods and the sound of my boots on the rocky trail.



Note to whoever made and posted this sign, however:


No, no, the trail does not just cross the road and continue up the hill as the sign indicates.  You have to walk down the road, cross the bridge over Tumbling Run, and THEN get back on the trail.  Just sayin'.

The Potomac Appalachian Trail Club maintains shelters and cabins along the Appalachian Trail in the mid-Atlantic.  I've spent many a happy day at various of their cabins.  This loop takes you past both a shelter area and a cabin.  Early on you pass Tumbling Run Shelter:


 Note that the shelter builders were very considerate and built two shelters separated by a sheltered eating area.




Yeah, I've had to share sleeping space with THOSE people.  Wait.  What?  All that noise was coming from ME?

You know how it is when you are in a strange place - you worry that you'll miss a turn.  But I didn't.


So lunch was up on Chimney Rocks.



Not a bad view.  Not bad at all.  But brisk.  So lunch was briskly done and finished, too.  I have to say, although I'm fine with hiking, biking, etc., alone, there is one thing I do miss.  Once upon a time in a galaxy far, far away there was a group of us at work who hiked together regularly.  Lunches were extended functions, often including the fanciest things we could think of that we could pack up a mountain, and always involved a lot of wine.  The group has scattered to the winds, retired, moved, gone, and I do miss sushi and pinot noir on the mountain tops.  And ice cream and cake - it required dry ice but we got it there.

But after Chimney Rocks it's pretty much a breeze.  The book I had with me said I was to turn at the gas line clearing to catch the return trail.


But I knew from reading online that I could go on up a ways to extend the hike by a mile or so and since I had plenty of time I chose that option. Once I picked up the old forest road it was pretty clear sailing back down.


Eventually you start paralleling the aptly named Tumbling Run.  Someone had posted to be careful with the crossing, it could be difficult.  Well, um, it didn't look so bad to me.


And you don't cross the stream unless you are going to Hermitage Cabin, anyway.

So back to the parking lot at Camp Penn in good time, just a little stiff in the knees due to a rock-snagged toe followed by a rediscovery of gravity that left me with a boo boo.  I think I did the 7.4 mile version, but I have to put the trail pieces together to see.

And in reality, the hike I really, really want to do again is Old Rag Mountain.



Maybe by next year if I remember that life is more than working on the house and really work on conditioning.

14 comments:

  1. If I'd known you were going, you could have taken Murphy. :-)

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    1. He prolly would have liked all the neat Fall smells!

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  2. Very nice! Beautiful Pictures!

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    1. Thank you! Borrowed a camera to see if I liked it better than cell phone photos and the answer is yes I do.

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  3. Lovely photos. I love fall myself, but southern NC is definitely warmer than up where you are.

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    1. The south has much appeal right now. I particularly hate the closed house thing.

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  4. Ah the memories.

    I used to do Old Rag Mtn all the time. A great hike.

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    1. Yeah it is - we had lots of good lunches up there. Lugged GPS equipment up there about 20 years ago and set and observed a mark. Which disappeared within about 6 weeks of us doing it.

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  5. Beautiful pics and a 'clearing the mind' day outside! Thanks for sharing those!

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  6. Beautiful pics PH. Without fall and winter, we would never appreciate spring and summer.
    Down here, fall and winter are a welcome relief. The AC finally shuts off.

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    1. I keep telling myself that Winter is what makes Spring so wonderful...

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