|The first of many stream crossings|
|Evidence of an old railroad|
|This Sugar Maple on the Slabcamp Run Trail was no doubt spectacular|
in red a week earlier.
I headed further south, crossed the first of many streams, then ascended briefly but steeply to an old rail bed that hugged the side of a mountain and very gradually gained elevation. This trail took me west to a parking lot/campsite and the beginning of the Slabcamp Run Trail. Slabcamp Run is a three mile trail that passes through a wide variety of different areas, including a beautiful field, an old apple orchard, a pine forest, and mixed hardwoods. It starts at about 3600 feet in elevation and slowly drops to about 2800 feet after three miles.
|Trail on old rail bed.|
At Laurel Fork, the trail relies on rocks to cross this stream. Due to several days of rain before my trip, however, the stream was too strong to try crossing. There is a link below to some video that shows the strength of the stream. At first, I tried to work my way off trail north to the next trail, but cliffs en route proved too difficult to overcome. I backtracked to the spot where Slabcamp Run meets Laurel Fork, and camped in a small site in the mountain laurel for the night.
On this hike I was testing several new pieces of equipment, including some new style, lightweight hiking boots made in France. I bought the Hoka One One hiking boots because I've been experiencing foot pain over the past year and I thought the cushioning would minimize pain on hikes. Honestly, they are not very attractive boots. I look like I am a 5'2" man trying to reach 5'5". And I think they are wider than my feet should use. But my feet feel better than they have in a long time wearing them, so I'll continue using them.
I was also trying out my new GPS after having lost my beloved Garmin GPSmap 60csx on a recent hike over an overgrown trail. After much research, I replaced that GPS with the Garmin GPSmap 62s from REI. The 62 is an upgraded version of the 60, with some really great additional capabilities as well as some frustrating features. I'll address that in a separate posting sometime soon.
The GPS proved useful on the return hike on Sunday morning. Passing through an area I had hiked the day before, it was difficult to tell where the trail headed. I found myself walking through the woods without finding a trail to guide me. I found my way back to the trail using the GPS route from the day before. No amount of map and compass work can help when you know you are within a hundred hards or so of a trail but cannot find the right spot. The GPS saved me several minutes of searching.
|Hiking through an old orchard on Slabcamp Run Trail.|
I plan to return, maybe with some scouts, but plan to do so when it has been a little drier. It will be interesting to compare the area at a different time of year. I also put together a YouTube video of the trip using iMovie 11 (this program is also an upgrade with some very frustrating aspects - and the reason this blog posting took so long to put up). Check it out for another view of the area.