12 Miles and …hmmm…this doesn’t look familiar!

I couldn’t wait for the work day to end so that I could head out to the trails this afternoon!   My training plan has upped the midweek run to double digits and I was feeling ready for some much needed time among the leaves, rocks, roots, and trees.  I was especially excited because I figured this distance would allow me to explore the new-to-me section of trail out near Hammonds Rocks that we ran on Sunday during the Buck Ridge Burn.  I absolutely loved the baby pine section that ended up going to the Ravine Trail, which takes you down a steep and rocky descent along the creek.

I parked at the Scenic Vista trailhead in Kings Gap and took Buck Ridge Trail to Hammonds Rocks.  As I ran on the new trail off of Buck Ridge, I had a pretty easy time figuring out where to turn to take the loop around the rocks like we did in the race.  I was able to take some pics that I had thought about taking during the race (but didn’t want to stop then to do it!).  It’s so pretty back there.

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Then when my loop came to an end I turned right onto the grassy trail that lead to the long-awaited baby pines.

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I’m not sure why this part makes me so happy, but it does!  Maybe it’s the new growth and the fact that the branches brush your arms as you run by as if to welcome you!
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Another one just because.  It’s just so different from everything else.  Like another world!

 

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End of baby pines just before heading down the ravine.  

I was too busy running the downhill, but did get some pics of the creek when I got near the bottom.

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I continued to run until I had 5 miles out and the plan was to reverse and head back to the car. This meant another loop around the Hammonds Rocks section.  Somehow I got turned around and ended up unsure of where I was after the second loop.  I say “turned around” because I knew how to get back to familiar trail.  I wasn’t necessarily lost…yet! None of the trail in this particular area are marked and there are many intersections of trail that look similar in spots.   I knew if I turned around and retraced my steps I could figure it out, but the trail was leading me to some amazing overlooks so I couldn’t help but check them out and I still had enough daylight.

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This picture doesn’t even do it justice.  None of them do really but it’s still pretty awesome.  The feeling you get from being in a place like this is impossible to convey.  
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Same spot, different view.  I guess you just had to be there.  
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Same spot looking down and to the left.  The spray paint I could do without, but I wanted to capture it because I plan to get more familiar with this area!

After checking out the overlooks, I continued on and realized the terrain and mountains definitely did not look right.  I knew I was heading in the wrong direction for sure, so I turned around and found this tree farther down the trail.  I knew I still had plenty of daylight left and I had extra water with me, so I was good!

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Does this mean north?  That’s what I was hoping.  LOL  I didn’t see any others so I don’t think it is a trail marker.  I headed that direction and it ended up being the way I needed to go, but I’ve never seen this marked on a tree before! 

When I got to another intersection, I decided to take a small log and block off the direction I didn’t want to go so that if I ended up back here again I would be able to familiarize my self more easily.  Thankfully,  the direction I picked got me back to the grassy road that led to the small unmarked Hammonds Rocks parking area and I knew exactly where I was. Ten miles turned into twelve but extra miles are always a blessing in disguise!

This exact situation is why I always take my phone, extra water, and extra snacks on a longer run. Especially if I know I plan to explore new trails.  You can never be too prepared!

 

 

Have you ever gotten “turned around” on a trail run?

Are you also addicted to any wilderness survival shows?

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