Greenwood Spur (MST), Saturday, June 28, 2014 – 9:00 a.m.
The morning started off in the low seventies, but would be climbing into the mid eighties before noon. The first quarter mile of the trail weaved through a rocky wet ravine before climbing up the mountain. “No-See-Em’s” were out in force and did their best to bother me. Before the trail turns left and runs parallel with a deer fence you cross a spring, a great location for filling your water supply. The trail is narrow and watching for rocks covered in moss became crucial with each step. One wrong step on a wet mossy rock can quickly end your journey. I eventually hit a gravel road (Spencer Trail) where the trail picks up on the other side. From here the trail became more challenging. Collier Trail begins a steep climb that offers very little switchbacks, and we’re not called Rockylvania for nothing. Half way up Collier Trail I stopped to take a break. I removed my pack, sat down and drank some water. It didn’t take long before I was reminded that once you have momentum sitting down is not the best idea. I felt my muscles begin to stiffen up. It was time to move. I needed to keep my muscles loose. A time for sitting and rest will come later once I reached my first major stopping point.
The trail continued to get steeper and with each step I wondered if I was nearer to the top. Collier Trail, a short section of the Greenwood Spur, is woodsy and beautiful. At this point the sound of traffic two miles back were faint. I pressed on thinking about reaching the top. I was so engrossed in that one thought and the rising humidity I didn’t see the qual that sat on the side of the trail until I startled him. Which also startled me. Then it hit me as to what I was doing, I was reminded that I’m on a solo hike to enjoy the outdoors and get away from the everyday routine and give myself time not to think. No one to keep pace with, no one to impress, only me, nature and Jesus. “Stop pushing yourself so hard Brian. HYOH!” I slowed my pace, adjusted my pack, and pressed on taking time to enjoy everything around me instead of my destination. Life can be the same way. We can spend too much time focusing on the destination we miss out on everything along the way.
I reached Seeger Rd, made a right, and from my map only had less then a quarter mile before the trail turned left back into the woods heading towards the old Greenwood Furnace Firetower.
The trail narrows and much of the area around me on either side is covered in low lying shrubs; Mt. Laurel, evergreens and wild blueberries. I pass several large ant hills on both sides of the trail. Keep in mind the ant hills are not colonies, but rather empires. Measuring about three feet high and about fifteen feet in diameter they were a wonder to see. Worker ants were busy building while others were on the trail near my feet collecting food twice their twice and weight carrying it back their empire. Some of them were large red ants, which made me wonder the size of their queen they were so busy working for being housed some where in the heart of those mounds.
Another hundred yards and the trail empties out to a grassy field. Just ahead of me is the old firetower, now closed do to vandalism. Here is where I rest and take in some calories. On the menu, peanut butter spread on soft taco shells rolled up. The protein and carbs need to move on. I sit back against a log in front of a once burning fire from backpackers the night before that is now a small smoldering pile of ash. The spot was quiet and now the sound of traffic is no longer heard. There is only the peaceful silence of nature. Until…from in the distance I hear someone shout, HEY! I scan my horizon looking for signs of human life. Unless the Sasquatch was yelling for me to give up my Jack Link’s beef jerky and was about to body slam me. I continued to scan my horizon and saw movement coming from the opposite direction of the trail. I couldn’t make out what or who it was, all I knew… they or it was heading in my direction.
Coming soon…Greenwood Spur (MST) The Journey Continues