Monday, March 11, 2019

Wildcat Rock


From the top of wildcat rock I can hear church bells in the distance. I check my watch - noon on Sunday. An old oak stands guard, its branches entwined around the rock in an ancient symbiotic struggle. I somehow missed the trail to the top of the trail's namesake rock on the way up, a 90 degree hard left with a sign and rock steps. My head must have been down, focused on not slipping on the wet rocks as I tried my best to run on the technical terrain, as I worked my way up to the top of Little Bearwallow Mountain.

The trail has been a pleasant surprise. After starting along the edge of an orchard you cross a creek and then the trail starts going up and has been recently built.  It is steep and full of locust water bars and steps that quickly give way to lots of rock steps with sections of machine cut sidehill tread where you can actually run before the rocks start up again. The trail work is impressive - while it is a far cry from the Inca Trail, great care and lots of time and muscle have been used to build the many steps.


I had briefly gotten off the trail at the waterfall but quickly realized my mistake and backtracked back to the trail. The carsonite trail sign lists it as hardcore and while that may a bit hyperbolic it is most definitely a challenging trail that leads to the top of Little Bearwallow Mountain. Eventually, it will connect with the Trombatore Trail and the top of Bearwallow Mtn. itself but for now the field at the end of the trail is the perfect spot for a snack before heading back down the rock steps.



The mountains are still cloaked in fog and as I listen to the church bells in the valley below there is a sense of a view just beyond the fog and I know I will be back one day to see what is out there.


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