Sunday, October 21, 2007

Long trail at Edgar Evins State Park

Center Hill Lake
Originally uploaded by TheTurducken
I've reached the conclusion that the hiking trails at most state parks based around dammed lakes aren't great bets. The trails are built because they provide more recreation options for park users, not necessarily because there is something worth hiking to. They're worth doing if you're there anyway, but not worth driving for.

Since this is fall break, I had hoped to get as much done early in the weekend as I could, so that I could maybe camp out somewhere Monday night. But the weather report was almost guaranteeing rain for Monday and Tuesday, so I recalibrated. I decided to hike the eight-mile Jack C. Clayborn Millennium Trail at Edgar Evins State Park, about one hour east of here.

I slept in, though, and got a late start. I didn't start hiking until noon. Actually, I stopped at the visitor's center first. In the middle of the center is a tower, and the top of the tower provides a great view of the dam. That's better than any of the views along the hike.

I ended up not doing the entire hike, since I had started late and have been slacking since Mt. St. Helens. I skipped the 2.6 mile loop at the end. I don't think it's very different from most of what I saw. You get occasional glimpses of the lake (perhaps better in winter), but mostly you're in forest. The biggest reason to search out this hike would be if you were really into old stone walls, since they are abundant. The trail itself has suffered from a lack of trail maintenance, probably compounded by a lack of visitation. Today there were only three parties out, and the other two covered less of the trail than I did. In many places downed trees and undergrowth make the trail hard to sort out or rough underfoot. However, the park's Friends group does seem to be starting some active reclaimation, so hopefully this will improve.

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