Soldiers delight – Serpentine trail

“Sometimes, the shortest path between two points is serpentine.” Christopher Benfey

Got up early today as usual. Thanks to Mag.

Got to the visitor center at 8, even though this environmental area only opens at 9am. Since the gate was open we took liberty to drive up the road and park Yoda in our usual spot. Gearing up Mag and putting on my boots and long socks only took a few minutes.

We gonna start counter clockwise today to beat the possible heat/sun combination later on. Heading to the right sort of into an open field on Almart trail. Kind of feels like we are going back towards Deer Park rd., which we are.

It only takes a few minutes and 0.4 miles to reach the ‘outside’ parking lot.

We will walk along the road keeping left than pass the cars and information board, nearing to the Serpentine trail sign.

The trail looks innocent from here….

English daisy, ?, Blue elderberry, Common self-heal, Wild garlic, Pine cone

but do not let it fool you. It’ll get rooty and rocky soon enough on a slight downhill within the woods.

Who knew?
Into the woods we go

Boots recommended

I always feel like Little Red Riding Hood walking through this part of the trail.

There might be a wren living in this tree

Soon enough we get out to the open where the power lines cut through the vegetation.

When emerging, we scare a doe, running into the narrow wooded area on the opposite side. Too fast for me to take a picture.

“I smell a doe” Mag says

This next – probably half a mile – portion is the reason we started out against the clock from where we’ve parked. Coming through here, late on a summer day can be waaaay too hot. (Speaking from experience.) Pretty much no coverage after we leave the tree line.

Grassland ahead

Information board

Views

We were her a month ago and I was outraged that someone started a fire out here on this open plain but I looked it up online and turned out that it was a controlled fire. It reintroduces the process of fire to strengthen restoration efforts and helps rare plants survive.

Before and after (1 month)

There are two little streams going downhill from the grasslands making Mag super Happy!

For about a quarter of a mile it will be uphill through rough, stony surface but nothing extreme.

Hang on until the 90 degree left turn in the woods.

After the bend, the trail turns to being the only option for the rushing water after rain to escape so it is rough at places. Gets pretty narrow and overgrown as well.

That is why I always wear boots. Doesn’t matter how hot it gets. Anywhere we go mud, rocks, roots, bugs, rivers can happen. And ankle twists – when wearing running shoes. Live and learn.

We are out in the open grasslands again. If we look over the plain, we might see other people where we have been 30 minutes ago walking either direction.

Up ahead the trail is being rerouted to save some of the vegetation from us hikers. Following the sign to left at the fence, walking through again the narrow patch of woods we end up being under the power lines once again.

Continuing across into the tree line….

we will soon reach the Red Dog Lodge….

and to the left on the trail the Visitor Center….

and the parking lot with Yoda!

Yay! We have survived another adventure!

So as it turns out AllTrails GPS system is not so reliable. It cheats about 0.15 miles / every mile, counting more than we actually do. Doesn’t seem too bad until we are doing way more than just a few miles per occasion.

Until next time.

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