This hike was the worst I have been on this year. The hike to the Fox Trail campsite was to serve three purposes. I plan this trip to hike two trails I haven’t taken yet (Fox and Lower CCC trails). I wanted to test out a camera lens and neutral density filter on the mountain views. This was to fix the issue with photos which usually ended up with skies that are way too bright with few details. I plan to try my hand at photographing the Milky Way.
I started the journey around noon. I under estimated the ratio between the weight of my backpack (45+ lbs) and the miles the first leg of the hike (7 miles) would be. When I reached 1600 feet and approximately 1 mile into the first leg I realized this. Unfortunately stubbornness took over and instead of turning back I forged ahead. I started out from the parking lot and took River Trail the .3 miles to the trailhead of Raven Rock Trail. I hiked Raven Rock for 3.4 miles to the trailhead of Fox Trail. Approximately a quarter mile from Saddleback Trial trailhead Raven Rock becomes a paved road. The north side of the road is the park’s boundary and on the south side is the private property of the Pine Ridge community. The trailhead for Fox Trail is situated on this pave road. It was another 3.3 miles to the campsite.
By time I arrived at the pave road I realize I was in trouble. I was bone tired and soar. The weight of my backpack rubbed welts into my shoulders. I pitched my tent about half way on Fox Trial to rest for a half hour before I started on the hike again. I arrived at the campsite at 6:55 pm.
The hike back to the parking lot the next day took me .4 miles to the Lower CCC Trail where I hiked another 1.9 miles to Headquarters Trail. I hiked 1.2 miles to the Shinny Creek Campsites to rest for another half hour and chat with a camper who arrived there at the same time I did. I finished my hike after 1.2 miles to the parking lot with a total of 5.1 miles this leg of my journey. I hiked a total of 12.1 miles for this trip. I hope I learned something from this comedy of errors.
Note: Click on the pictures for a larger view or here to scroll through the photo gallery consisting of 39 photos plus the map. The Photo Album will pop up in a separate window and there is a link at the bottom of the page in the navigation icon area to get back here but I suggest just closing that window. The link is provided for those who turned off allowing websites to open a separate window. These photos were taken with a PENTAX K-50 DSLR camera.
Here is a photo of Cassiopeia. Notice that the sky is lighter than that of Ursa Minor photo above. This is because the area of Ursa Minor was shielded from the Moon’s glow by tall trees to my left. Cassiopeia, on the other hand, was directly opposite of the moon and there were no trees to block the glow. Cassiopeia is easily found by locating the ‘W’ that five of its brightest stars form. As above I provided a highlighted photo to identify these stars.
Stars that form the ‘W’. Top to bottom on photo: Caph (Beta Cassiopeiae), Schedar (Alpha Cassiopeiae), No Name (Gamma Cassiopeiae), Ruchban (Delta Cassiopeiae), Segin (Epsilon Cassiopeiae). Stars are assigned Greek letters in accordance with its brightness in the constellation. Alpha being the brightest star.