This week my husband, Kevin, was away; my son , Jay, is away on school trip; leaving me and Utah free to try out my solo skills on Southern Ohio's most challenging backpacking trail in Shawnee State Forest. I hiked the Southern Loop. It was a great trial for my new backpack. Everything I needed or will CDT chunk hike fit well and comfortably. I had a great first day hot and sunny with beautiful flowers. Utah flushed out a couple of wild turkeys (https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/5/50/Gall-dindi.jpg/220px-Gall-dindi.jpg). I got to camp 6 at about 4 PM, Right at the trail sign there was a single lady slipper, a rare flower of the orchid family, a little while later Eastern Whip-poor-will (,http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eastern_Whip-poor-will) began to serenade me to sleep. They sang me to sleep and proceeded to sing through the night finally ceasing at dawn. When the hermit Thrush took over. The camp is at the confluence of two streams with clear pure water running through the middle of camp. This camp is reputed to be the most isolated and beautiful campsite in Ohio.
The next morning I was out of camp by 7. A fantastic and beautiful hike up to a 1000' ridge with great views of these Appalachian hills. I was cruising along and got to my planned camp, camp 4 at noon. I certainly didn't want to camp that early so I pushed on. The day got greyer and greyer and I hiked and hiked over ridges, down into canyons until I started seeing signs of logging operations and trail closures I just kept following the orange blazes that hadn't failed me yet untill i stumbled out into the logging operation that had taken down blazed trees. arrrgh. I stopped in a hillside of chaff and stumps trying to find some form of footpath to continue on. Then Crash, Bang, Boom thunder , lightning and a deluge. Lost trail, bare hillside ugg. I decided to backtrack and find a roadwalk out. Only to find myself on a ridge with two metal poles and a metal knee brace and no seconds between flash and bang. I was seriously freaked! I was on a ridgetop dirt road, along come two pickups filled with loggers. I explained my position and they generously offered me a ride out to my car. Cest La Vie, rescued by anti heroes? go figure.
Nothing messes up trail following like cut down trees.
Count down to the CDT: 9 days till we leave
Pink Lady Slipper
Utah gets a drink in one of the beautiful