What a beautiful day to return to my favorite trail in my favorite park! After scouting the trailhead at Bowl and Pitcher and finding too many cars, I headed to the little used Pine Bluff Trailhead to start my hike. My car was one of four in the lot. I hike this route often, usually accessing it from the Carlson Road trailhead. Today, in addition to starting at a different location, I also chose to reverse my direction.
I crossed Pine Bluff road and headed out on (unmarked and unsigned) trail 25 around what would me mile 10 if it was properly marked. Two cyclists passed me near the trailhead. I crossed an open meadow liberally sprinkled with wild flowers below the power lines, before crossing Pine Bluff road again and starting up toward the bluff. In another mile I saw a couple with a leashed dog, a man with an unleashed dog and a rude couple of ladies who didn’t want to give me 6 feet of physical distance. Nobody else had masks. Wild flowers were blooming in great abundance as I headed uphill. At the bench at the top of the bluff, I sat for a while to enjoy the view and a snack while talking to a cyclist who was resting near the edge.
As I headed on my way around the loop, I passed another 10 hikers in groups of varying size and desire to respect others space. I reflected on how good it felt to be out of my neighborhood for a walk on a real trail, not a road. I have spent too much time walking on asphalt lately.
After passing the Carlson Road trailhead, I saw another dozen or so hikers, cyclists and dogs as I would my way up and down hills, across Deep Creek and back to Seven Mile road by way of State Park Drive near mile 15. Crossing Seven Mile road, I continued on trail 25 to my car with a final road crossing at the end. I did not encounter any park employees or signage relating to physical distancing on my 5.87 mile loop.
I stopped by the full parking lot at Indian Painted Rocks on my way home to check it out for a future outing. There were 15 cars in the lot, including one with the keys still in the passenger door. The park had placed signs there, which I included in a picture below.
Go outside, but stay safe. Be kind and respect others space while you enjoy your own.
Hiking feels so good
Return to old friends under
Blue skies, puffy clouds