Sunday, March 21, 2010

Fort Mountain Gahuti Trail on St. Patrick's Day

It was chilly St. Patrick's Day morning when 19 of us headed to Ft. Mountain near Chatsworth for our Wednesday hike. After stopping in at the Park office, we drove to a parking lot near the trailhead and were soon on the trail. Winter held the woods in its grip, but it was beginning to lose the battle; rhododendrum and mountain laurel were greening the trail as we wound around the mountain. The blanket of leaves underfoot were no longer crunching but rotting and creating a soft footfall. Not that it was quiet....our group is known for chatting it up as we meander along and Wednesday was no exception!

The first overlook reminded us why we were there...the view of the surrounding hillsides and farmlands was spectacular! We continued on the well-marked paths and were soon in the thick of the woods, encountering many areas with trees, big and small, fallen over either from blowdowns or snapping from the winter freezes. A little past three miles, the group split. The Trail Chronicler joined Stormy, Debbie, Gary, Monty, John, and a new member, Georgieann (sp.?) and bypassed the trail around the lake to make the hike a little longer by continuing on around the mountain. I was told the first group enjoyed their lunch at the lake, although the breeze made it a tad bit cool. Geogieanne was out ahead of our group at one point! She's a go-getter! Soon, we found a primitive campground and settled down at the shelter to eat out food.

After lunch, we encountered some prettier scenery: a picturesque creek with green moss-covered rocks, large hardwood areas, and interesting rock formations. After we found the designated spot to intersect with the first group, Stormy decided to hasten the pace a little bit (that girl doesn't let any moss grow under her feet!), and in no time, we were all together again.

As usual we had a bit of an uphill hike (isn't that always the way!) to finish up the trail. When we got back to the parking lot where the cars were, most headed on over to check out the views from the Tower and to see the mysterious rock wall formations that have been rebuilt. All in all another great hiking day with some great hiking friends. I'm guessing the group who hiked the longer trail got in 9+ miles so the others would have a little less! Not bad either way.

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