Here is my trip report for my first hike of the year. I arrived around noonish on Sunday and started at the first creek trailhead, with the objective of three days and three nights. It ended up being 3 days and 2 nights. Most of what i went thru is on the video to follow, but being that im computer challenged its still uploading to youtube.
the trails I INTENDED TO DO WERE: First creek trail, Mcoy Hollow Trail and stay at Collie Ridge and do the Collie Ridge trail to the Fergusen campsite and then back out..What I ended up doing was--- First Creek trail, staying at the first creek campsite the first night. Coming out of the campsite up to the temple hill trailhead to catch the McCoy Hollow trail it is a mile uphill !!! once on the McCoy trail it was back down into the hollow. Coming out of the hollow is tough, as all these trails are horse trails that are heavily used! Once you get past the three springs campsite there is only one or two water sources until almost a mile from the end of this trail. In that trail once you leave that water source by three springs its a steep climb to the top of the ridgline where there are many beautiful rock outcroppings. Being of minimal fitness it took the toll on me and i camped along the trail...something i could not have done with a tent!. Knowing i pushed myself to the limits I chose to hike out on the Wet Prong trail the next morning, which was beautiful, the last mile though was nothing but cleared blowdowns and heavily overgrown bush on the sides of the trail. OVERALL IMPRESSION OF TRAILS AND PARK
; Its a big park dedicated to the cave so naturally the trails are secondary. That and HEAVILY trafficed by horses makes it quite challenging -alot of mud and and rocks and blowdowns to scramble around. TRAIL MARKINGS
and maps do NOT match up, while marked well with blue blazes (orange for side trails if you find them) the milage marked on them are not true to the maps (or visa versa) and the campsites and water sources on the maps are only approximate. This can be frustrating as well as that the park maps have no elevation changes so it would be worth while to find a topo map if you could. The elevation changes really surprised me, but that was my fault for not enough prep on that matter. Relatively clean, only litter was by the trailheads so that was good to see, and I only seen 4 people, 2 of which were on horses that first day. This is really a good place for solitude. The Park people were nice and town folk too, as it is rather tricky to find the trail head..so all in all I keep learning and I still like it so I believe Im doing something right...and now for the video (as soon as it uploads ...ugggg)