I used to hike frequently, back in the mid 90's at Wildcat Hollow, Zaleski State Park, Shawnee and Tar Hollow but have not since 2001. Partly cycling encroached on the time I otherwise would have hiked and partly because I clearly remember taking a long hike on one of these trails and was struck by how they were all pretty much the same. One mile of staring at tree trunks after another, rarely interrupted by a nice view. Someone hiked this last week and kind of put it back on my radar. I found an old map of the 15 mile trail, saw I had recorded all my past times and decided to see if I could cover the route in a similar time.
The first 2 miles there are numerous stream crossings that one must pause and decide how best to cross without soaking a foot. The streams were running kind of high from the recent rain so crossing where the trail entered the streams was usually not possible. Got past them all and passed some interesting rock formations and small caves.
The trail is easy to follow with white diamond shaped markings on tree trunks to also guide the way. I passed a couple of back packing groups but otherwise saw no one else. I had gotten off to a late start, not hitting the trail until a little after 11:30 so I was a little concerned about getting back prior to darkness but arrived back at the car prior to 4:00pm so all was good. Along with the 15 miles there was just over 2000' of climbing. Given the area, it surprised me there was not more climbing but the people that developed the trail did a good job routing it along ridge lines and valleys, rather than an up and down over every hill.
Mark is a long-time cyclist who enjoys poking fun at himself but most especially at his friends. No nicknames or comments are intended to offend, accept them in the humor they are intended.