Friday, November 23, 2012

A Thanksgiving day walk

Scooter carrying food and water

Walking up Leetonia Rd

Wilson Pt Rd turn

Lee Fire Tower site

Heavy Mt Laurel and wrong turn

Beginning half-mile trail

There is a video with this so if you get blog by email and want to see video you will need to go to the website.

So I decided to go on an eight mile hike for Thanksgiving. The weather was perfect and it saved me tons of calories eating a big meal. I took only Scooter with me as I knew the trail was going to be too rough for Speck, the Chihuahua and Leo had cut his foot on a hike the previous day and I didn't want him to damage the foot anymore.

I packed Scooter up with all the snacks and water and we headed up Leetonia Road from the house. It was 22 degrees out so I dressed in layers and found out my sweatshirt was too hot by the time we walked a mile up the road. Hiking upwards creates it own heat and the sun was warming things up quickly. When we turned onto Wilson Point Road I thought the worst of the hike was over now it would be mostly downhill when we got to Half-mile trail.

I took a picture at the old Lee Fire Tower site, I remember as a kid coming up there and climbing into the lookout station when they still had rangers that looked for forest fires. The new technology of satellites sadly ended the need for a fire tower and it was torn down in the late eighties. My mother who never liked heights barely could stand even watching us climb up in the tower that moved in the wind. I had seen a marker on the ground up there and was going to take a picture of that as well, but the leaves hid it so well I couldn't find it.

Just about a quarter mile past the fire tower site I saw what I thought was the beginning of half-mile trail. It didn't take me long to figure out it was an old logging area so heavily covered in Mt. Laurel even Scooter refused to move without encouragement. Mountain laurel has very crooked branches that seem to grab at you as you try to make your way through them. We both tripped and stumbled looking for what I thought would be the trail soon. Once you go so far through hard brush it is hard to think about turning around and going back through it again, but that is exactly what I had to do.  At first I thought the trail had disappeared in the logging and laurel as you hear me state on the video. So I decided to walk farther down Wilson Pt road and within another half mile I found the sign and trail.

The trail was overgrown with Mountain Laurel, but not to the point a small path had disappeared. The further down the trail we went the less Mountain Laurel, but there was a lot of debris and downed trees across the path. Half-mile trail's name is deceiving because it is not a half mile long in fact it is nearly two miles long. The only reason I can figure they called it that is if you drive from the point on Cedar Mountain Rd where it comes out to the place on Wilson Pt Rd it is about 5 miles so going through the trail cuts that in half. Well, a bit more than half. The trail is beautiful going down the side of the mountain along a creek bed, which at one point you feel like you are getting close to then it stays an even distance from you most of the way down as it descends with you. It is only the last half mile of the trail you see the water close to you.  It is a shame the trail has not been better maintained for if a hunter tries to use it to bring back game it is pretty much an obstacle course. However it is pretty well marked and nice as a long hike.

At the bottom of the trail they are working on one of the bridges so the road down to Leetonia is temporarily closed. During my entire walk I saw only birds, some chickdees and about six grouse. There were however signs of deer and turkey scratching things to eat from the ground. The walk with my mountain laurel detour and taking time to eat a lunch took me four hours and I covered about eight miles. Certainly this is no speed record but it was a nice hike to appreciate a wonderful day in the woods. I felt especially thankful for the opportunity and the health to complete it.  Scooter crashed when we got home tired from being the pack animal. The other dogs were full of energy and I think a bit put off they didn't get to go. Have a great Thanksgiving from Leetonia and remember to enjoy the things we get for free that are priceless. Mountain girl, Paula, logging out.


rockhouse said...

I'm tired just reading your blog. Carol & I did rent and watch the movie on the CCC during the 1930's. I know my grandfather was a manger during the CCC's while living in Leetonia at this difficult time for the nation and, also a fire watch ranger is the fire tower. Thanks for the memories.....and give Scooter a hug!

Evergreen, CO

Anonymous said...

Will there be a Christmas day walk?

eaglebear said...

I am not sure about a Christmas day looks like we may have rain.