Friday, March 1, 2013

Harbison State Forest

There's a first time for everything.  I've never started a day, in the dark, at Waffle House.  I've ended a day, in the dark, at Waffle House but let me move along.  I told a colleague that I would be leading a hike at Harbison State Forest and she invited me to breakfast with her geocaching group.  I said yes before I asked what time they planned to meet.  Surprise! These people voluntarily leave their beds and meet for 6:00 a.m. breakfast on a Saturday.  I joined them at 6:30 and it was a great way to start the day.  It also guaranteed my presence at the park before any of my group arrived.
Geocachers walk around in the woods...but not on a trail.  Fun group to have breakfast with.
 Hash browns, eggs, bacon, and coffee were a different kind of pre-hike breakfast for me.

Normally I ingest something protein and fruit filled and chase it with strong black coffee.
After my breakfast buddies headed out I waited a while longer and headed over to Harbison State Forest.  I planned to lead the group along the course mapped out for the Mountain in the Middle 12K.  I'd been on some of the trails but never this set linked together in this manner.  So one of my tasks before the group arrived was to make sure I understood the connections well.  I'm glad I took that time.  There was one area where the trail was completely covered by leaves and there were several branches that could lead people in the wrong direction.  I took note of that and then headed back to the meeting spot.  As soon as the group gathered, we headed off. 
Love the scarves!
We started on the Firebreak Trail, which connects all the trails in the park.  We followed that along to the Midlands Mountain Trail.  I had an oops moment, and took us off on a spur that led to an overlook of the Broad River.  My breakfast buddies happened to be there so I introduced the trail-using woods walkers to the trail-eschewing woods walkers.  We remained on Midlands Mountain until we got to Spider Woman II.  This was my favorite part of the hike.  There is one point where you come around a bend and over a slight hill to see the Broad River stretched out in front of you.
  I also loved this part of the hike because it was a little more active.  There were a few elevation changes and some rocky (well bouldery) areas to contend with.  Towards the end of this part of the trail I slowed down and let the front part of the group get ahead of me.  The back part of the group was a bit farther behind.  Spider Woman II links back up with Midlands Mountain and then I chose the Eagle Trail as the home stretch.  This was not a part of the original route but I told the group that we would detour because this trail has labelled trees. 
Sure wish I could read this photo.  Need (want) a better phone.
The Eagle Trail took us back around to our cars and there we ate a bit and waited for the remainder of the group.  According to MapMyRun/Walk/Hike/Bike/Crawl I covered the 7.31 miles in right over 2 hours.  That's actually pretty fast for a hike with pack and some hills.  I felt it the next day.  Until next time y'all.

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