|The trail map, for those interested. Source|
|After the first big uphills, sweat is already flowing!|
|I think it says that I'm mountain training that I got all excited about the "steep rugged terrain" signs.|
|Such pretty yellow scenery!|
|Did I make a wrong turn?|
I have to admit, the scenic pipeline trail feature as part of "Ohio's largest Nature Preserve" was rather disappointing. However, from a training standpoint, that hellacious first climb was probably worth every step. There was also a section thrown a mown meadow where the entire trail was at a diagonal step. Unfortunately, you do have to do that on the mountain, so that was probably good training, even though it hurt on the way back after hiking for 3 hours with a 45 lb pack.
At the end of the Cemetery Ridge trail, I switched onto the Chestnut trail. The park map calls this trail difficult, saying that it connects the western and eastern parts of the park trails with sandstone views and gently rolling hills. I would say this was pretty accurate. The part in the woods was rather pretty too.
|Yay - more steep rugged signs!|
|Woohoo! more steep, and a lake to boot!|
|Very nice rest stop view.|
|This is good for me, right?|
By the time I was almost done with the pipeline section, but not yet starting the excruciating downhill, I knew I would be short of the 4 hours when I got back. Instead of coming back up that long downhill (which I considered), I decided to add on the section along the creek so that I could see something pretty after the long pipeline section. I tacked on a portion of the Creekside Meadows Trail. It is described as easy and flat. It was, but I got to see the pretty creek and it was only 15 minutes anyway.
|Definitely better than pipeline stakes.|
I made use of the port-o-potty, and spurned the idea of my post hike protein bars. I decided I deserved fast food drive-through on the way home. Best McDonald's french fries ever.
Based on calories burned estimations, I burned somewhere around 2,700 calories during this hike. Perhaps this explains why I couldn't stop eating all day on Monday.
Will I go back to this park? Maybe to try the route Mark and I planned out. I actually have a few other parks in that area that I have flagged for my longer training hikes though and may not need to return to Clear Creek again. I think I'd like to stick with trying something new each Sunday if possible We'll see. I definitely need to find another audiobook before this Sunday's hike. Any suggestions??? I need something not super cerebral so that if I miss a sentence here or there while navigating something tough, it doesn't matter.