Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Chestnut Top Trail

After a rainy day yesterday, the clouds finally cleared out overnight.  The sun came up bright this morning.  Even though it was still a little chilly, we headed to the trail about 9 AM.  This trail starts out with a steep uphill climb so we warmed up right away.

We chose Chestnut Top trail for our first hike.  It is a short drive from our campsite and is one of the best in the park for spring wildflowers.

Nice display of hepatica

Trailhead parking is in the large parking lot at the Townsend Y.  During the summer months, this parking lot is almost impossible to get into because this is a very popular place for tubing on the Little River.  There is also a large grassy area which is a perfect place to spread a blanket for a little sunbathing or a picnic.  It’s perfect, if you don’t mind the crowds.

Today, however, with the temperature in the 40s, there was only 1 car in the parking lot when we arrived.  We walked across the street to the trail and immediately started our ascent.  We were rewarded during the first half mile of our hike with the first of the spring wildflowers.  We saw lots of trillium not yet ready to bloom, star chickweed, hepatica, and blood root.  There were several others we didn’t recognize.

After that first half mile we had gained enough elevation that there were no more flowers.  That was probably for the best because we had already spent a great deal of time stopping to make pictures.

Trail break
Chestnut Top trail is a little over 4 miles in length.  We didn’t think we were quite up to 8+ mountain miles today, so we stopped at the top of Chestnut Top.  We had our lunch break there, then returned to the truck the way we came for a total of 5.6 miles.  At least, it was all down hill on the way back.

We didn’t see any wildlife, not even a squirrel.  We did see a fresh pile of bear scat on our return trip that hadn’t been there on our way up.  I like to see bears, but I prefer to see them from the safety of the truck.

This blowdown took part of the trail with it.
We had heard that there have been a lot of blow-downs from the many winter storms this year.  Gene took his small saw and we planned to do what maintenance we could.  A trail maintainer, probably a park service employee, had been there before us.  The trail was in good condition.  We cleaned out a few water bars and moved a few small limbs off the trail, but that was all there was to do.  There was one blow-down that had taken out part of the trail.  That will require more work than what we would have been able to do.

We had a beautiful day and a very pleasant walk in the park.

Yesterday, we discovered water leaking out of our basement storage.  We’re not sure how it got there; we’ll investigate that later.  The goal for today was to get the puddle mopped up and dry out anything that was wet.  Gene took care of that mess as soon as we got home from our hike.

Not much was wet, but what was dried out quickly in the sun

Tomorrow, I think we will do the other end of Chestnut Top trail.  That is, if we can get out of bed in the morning.  For the remainder of today, I’ll assume the reclined position in my chair.

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