Sunday, March 29, 2015

Trailblaze Challenge: Crowder's Mountain 15 mile hike

Last weekend was my second voyage to Crowder's Mountain as part of this training cycle and this time we were scheduled to hike the other trails in the park for a total of 15 miles. Unfortunately with my previous commitment to the Elizabeth 8k, I wasn't able to join the group hike, so I went on Sunday with one of my friends and we made the trek in 5 hours and 41 minutes for an average pace of 23:05 per mile. There were a couple of miles that we stopped to check out the scenery, so I think it was a good first attempt at a long distance with some pretty good climbs thrown in as well.

We started at the Park Office and followed Turnback Trail to Pinnacle Trail, then onto Ridgeline trail which goes all the way to Kings Mountain State Park in SC, but we stopped about .5 miles from the SC border at a picnic area to have lunch and then turned around to head back. For most of the trip, we didn't really see anyone, except as we got closer to the bouldering area where more people were hiking, though we didn't actually see anyone on the rocks.

Not a whole lot to see from the top of this trail, but we did pass some farmland and it was definitely a less traveled trail than the one I did previously where you can see the skyline of Charlotte.


One of the bouldering rocks - it even had a metal clip already attached at the top.

I'm so tiny! This is the view from the top of some of the rocks and then I went down below to see if there was more of a path (there wasn't).

I tried out my new hiking boots (Keen Targhee) for this hike. When we stopped for lunch at the half-way point, I changed into my trail running shoes since I was starting to have some foot pain in my heel and a little in the pad of my foot. I definitely want to try out some inserts, but it wasn't a bad distance considering this was only the second time I've ever worn them. 

It's a little disappointing, though not unexpected, that there isn't more to see on the trails yet. I'm starting to see glimpses of green coming on the trees, but most of the trails so far have been mostly bare trees and dead leaves, with some rhododendron thrown in for some green now and then. The weather was perfect for the hike, and in this area, it won't take long before it will be too hot to do hikes of these distances, so I'll take what I can get, knowing that all of this training should help me see some awesome views when I head out west in June!

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