Sunday, November 18, 2007
Nathan Bedford State Park
Nathan Bedford State Park
20 Mile Trail........Moderate..........16.5
On this trip, we had in attendance: Jason, Marco, and Craig. Greg had to spend quality time with his significant other, in other words shopping, and Troy had a two-day remodeling job that he should finish up sometime before the New Year. We are rating this trail as moderate because of the rather steep hills which they didn't waste a lot of space with switchbacks. Basically when they came to a hill they just popped a chalk line and went with it. The trails were covered with loose rocks, which would roll an ankle pretty quick. I would guess that about half of the trail was old roadbed.
We started out from Jason's house and it took about two and a half hours to get to the trailhead. The trip there was pretty much uneventful with just good company. When we got there we went to the park office and got signed in. This took a little while because they were busy with cabin renters. Here they handed us a new hand drawn trail map with color-highlighted trails. No distance was put on the map other than the trail names. With a string and figuring from a three-mile trail and five-mile trail, I came up with an estimated length for the mile. The map was drawn pretty much to scale so we have to give that to them. They also notified us that the Boy Scouts were hiking the same trail and there was about twelve of them. From the office, you go to the highest point of the park to the trailhead. It was hard trying to get Marco to believe that we wouldn't have to hike uphill to get back to the Jeep.
We made it from the highest point in the park to the bottom before a chocolate lab joined us. He came running straight down the hill and headed straight for Daisy. We were not sure how this was going to turn out, but the dog was just interested in playing and going hiking with us. No matter how we tried to run him off he kept following us. I was thinking that Jason was just going to have to carry Daisy all the way to camp. After a couple of miles we came across some duck hunters taking their boats out of the river and pawned the old dog off on them.
It was exciting to see water in the creeks. Yes, we actually had water crossings that were wet this year. The trail snakes back and forth between the hills and lake and then does one of those straight up things to the first shelter. The shelters here were built by the Boy Scouts and were basically an open front box. We stopped for a lunch break here and then headed out. Here the trail followed an old roadbed all the way to the next shelter, which was about seven miles from the trailhead. We originally talked of staying at this shelter, but with the Boy Scouts coming we figured that we would go a little further. On top of that, none of the shelters were anywhere close to a water source. We figured that we would hike down to the river and make camp there. We hiked further toward the river, but we never lost any elevation. It kinda made me wonder if we were going to be about three hundred feet above the river when the trail turned to go along it. Right at the river was a bluff with a few buildings on it. One looked as though it was a camp chow hall and the other buildings looked like councilor houses. They were all made of block with the wooden roofs falling in. We did a little exploring here and then took the trail, which did a steep drop to the river. We decided to hike along the river to the next stream that fed it and camp there.
We found a spot not far from the big river and close to a feeder stream to make camp. It was about eight and a half miles from the trailhead. There were lots of fallen trees to get firewood from and a couple of large logs to use as seats. We set into making camp, gathering wood, fetching water, and getting the fire started. Life was looking good. After everything was set up we got dinner going. Jason was trying some homemade spaghetti that he had dehydrated and was quite pleased with the results. As the food was cooking in the bag, Marco was tending to the fire. We heard a great pop as Marco stood on his dinner. It was pretty impressive, as you would think that something would be left in the bag. When it popped the entire dinner launched through the air. It looked like someone had wiped the inside of his bag with a rag. We got some pictures as Marco was collecting his food from the leaves. After partaking in some drinks for medical reasons, the rain started coming down. We decided that it was bedtime and everyone climbed in the sack. The rain continued through most of the night. Somehow Marco managed to keep the fire going all night. I got up at some point and figured it was morning as my tarp was completely lit up. When I got up a found that the full moon had lit up the woods. OK, so I went back to bed. In the morning we tried out Jason's homemade granola and Raspberry breakfast, which turned out really well. Jason has this really cool platypus bladder with a Velcro top on it. It comes in really handy as you can just scoop up the water and filter it back at camp in a comfortable position. Well, Marco proudly said that he would go get some the water this morning and off he went. I was wondering if something had happened to him as he was gone quite a while. Finally he showed back up and with some laughter he explained that he was trying to fill up the platypus through the little round hole that is used to pour the water out if you needed to. After about four attempts he finally found the Velcro top and things went better after that.
We started out our hike this morning with a climb that my Dad would be proud of. After we recovered from the straight up start, it turned into an old roadbed. The trail cuts back by the second shelter and there was sign that the Boy scouts had actually made it there that night. We knew that it was going to rain, but we thought we had a while longer than we did. We got the raingear on and started thinking about an out that we could take. We caught up with the Boy scouts where the five-mile trail connects with the twenty-mile trail. The Scoutmaster said that the guys had been complaining about the rain since last night. They were going straight out using the five-mile trail. We let them head out and had a snack in the rain. A vote was taken and we decided to follow the Boy scouts out. When we got back to the parking lot we did a tour of the museum they have.
Now it is Waffle house time. Jason did the GPS thing and found the nearest one, but you know us. We knew that there was one closer and preceded to search. We did find one, but it was further than the GPS one. I'll figure this high-tech stuff some day. So we took the twenty-mile trail, but only got sixteen and a half miles. Only us!