Sunday, September 11, 2011

Hike 2011.062 -- North -South Trail (3)

Hiked Saturday, September 10. This was my longest single day of hiking since moving to Kentucky. 13 miles, which isn't all that long compared to many southern CA trips, but was still plenty tiring.

My trailhead for this trip was where I ended my last walk on the North-South trail: Where the trail crosses LBL road #170. This was 4.9 trail miles south of Golden Pond Visitor Center. From U.S. 68/KY 80, I exited at the Trace and headed south, past the Visitor Center, and kept my eyes peeled for Road #170. Just a bit south of the Colson Springs picnic area, there was my road.

Road #170 is a gravel road, but it's maintained for passenger car use. From the Trace, it's an easy .5 miles to where the road crosses the North-South trail. There's room for 1-2 cars to park off the road and near this trail.

From here, I headed south. My initial plan was to go to the next road crossing (#165), which the trail map said was 4.99 miles away. The sky was nearly cloud-free and the sunshine filtering through the leaves was in stark contrast to the overcast conditions of my previous two hikes.

The temperatures were also modest, in the upper 70s or lower 80s. Hence, once I got to Road #165, I was still feeling pretty good, so I elected to go forward. Clouds had increased somewhat, but it still looked like it was going to stay dry.

Just on the other side of #165 (which is paved), there were a number of flowers. First, I saw a what looked like a purple aster. Then I saw a patch of yellow daisy-looking flowers. A bit further down, I came across a huge field, blanketed by them. It didn't photograph as impressively as they seemed in real life, unfortunately.

About 1 mile south of #165, the trail first shares a short segment with a jeep path, Road #356, then crosses to the south. After a bit of paralleling The Trace, the North-South trail finally crosses it.

On the other side of The Trace, I came to a gate with signs warning of danger and the fact that the North-South trail was temporarily closed here for logging. This closure was not listed on-line, and meant this would be the end of the hike for me today.

From the gate, I had to backtrack a few hundred yards back to The Trace. The official detour would have sent me along the shoulder of The Trace for perhaps 1 1/3 mile, to The Homeplace (a living history educational facility in LBL) and the South Bison range. If this was a dedicated trail, I very well might have continued. But the prospect of walking along the highway's shoulder did not appeal to me, so I turned around here.

My eyeballing of the trial map says my turnaround point was about 1.5 miles south of #165, so I walked a total of about 6.5 miles, one way.

In one respect, it was a good thing I turned around when I did. Along the way back, the clouds kept building, and the sound of raindrops falling on leaves became more frequent. Before long, it was a constant pelting of large (but not too dense) raindrops. Even as the rain fell, however, the sun was mostly still breaking through. It wasn't a soaking rain, and it was still in the 70s, but walking in the rain for a longer period of time might not have been very enjoyable. As it was, when I finally saw my car in the distance, it was a welcome sight.

13 miles for the day. Modest altitude change. Nice flowers. HUGE appetite when I got back home. :D


  1. Glad you are still out there hiking Skyhiker!

  2. Yep, the nice thing about my current job is it is strictly a teaching job (no research, no service requirement). I teach my classes, then I can go home (or go hiking). At least now, in the summer, there's plenty of daylight after my teaching is completed on most days that I can fit in a couple of hours of hiking.