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:
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.
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.