Up early and ready to do a nice 5 mile hike if I turn around as suggested. There is a campground up there the ranger told me, but that’s about 5 miles in and the last hunters back there had to get emergency services to get out. Armed with binoculars, water and whistle I head on ward.
It starts as a nice wide trail and then there is a fork. The sign points trail to the left a much smaller trail. It’s wedged in some rocks. I’m a little concerned. Was this a joke.. I took the smaller trail.. .. .. Right away met a beautiful waterfall with huge moss covered rocks and was happy with my trail. Another sign, pack it in pack it out. Must be on the trail.
Next section runs across a grassy area where I needed to be a billy goat to stay on the miniscule ledge. I put my arm to feel safe, all reality I’m sliding to the bottom on a misstep.
Back under brush in the woods, I see a bullet casing. Other humans. It’s the trail.
For what must be the next 5 miles I wonder when they stopped maintaining the trail and the way the switch banks happen you come to the dead pines a coupe of times. I am still back and forthing across the face of the mountain. I can barely see the ranger station and slaf now. Back into the woods, over and back over the falls a couple times. I end up at the campground.
Go back or go forward. If this was unmaintained I figure it wasnt that bad and i was fairly easily staying on the trail.
As I come across the falls a final time a few feet of rocks and at the top. Made it!!
I look for the trail out nope, then the trail I came from, nope. It’s gone. As I try to force myself Back up the hill to find the trail my body is going down the hill. There is no stopping it. Just going down, down, down, then I grab a tree. I know I have to get back on that trail. I forge through the thicker brush back to the falls and finally find the trail, but with my little downscursion I cut off a bit of the trail and didn’t see the camp ground coming back. I’m super ok with that. 🙂
The billy goat scrambles were not as intimidating going back. Once on the trail I get my hop and skip back admiring the flowers, mushrooms, sounds, fragrances and sunlight.
I make it back to the fork where this crazy up hill questionable trail started and have to see where the other end goes. Hoping It’s not another 10 miler I decide to go to just the top of the hill at least. Oh my. Wow. Glad I did. A waterfall garden with stone walls and bridges back and forth across the rippling stream, I hung out here and relaxed from my gruesome, exceptional feat of a hike!! I didn’t do the willett loop. But I think I came close enough and No body had to rescue either.
I did end up with a nasty war wound on my shin and three tick hikers. Let’s just say these are no east coast ticks, when they bite they mean it!