Between my summer work schedule (wherein half my week is dedicated to preparing for the farmers’ market) and the onset of summer heat, my opportunities to get out and hike each week have diminished. As I’m making good progress on my hiking goals, I’m okay with this change of pace. But when I get a free morning or day, I’m going to take it.
Today, I had only the morning free, so I decided to hike a little closer to home and chose a trail at Mohican State Park for my day’s exploration.
I woke later than usual, but as I knew I was heading toward the woods, it didn’t bother me to miss the sunrise for a change. Arriving at Mohican around 7, I drove back to and across the covered bridge before turning into a picnic and camping area to find my trailhead.
The morning light streamed through the trees to shimmer on the river, so after I captured those golden sunbeams in a few photos, I grabbed my pack and headed down the Hemlock Gorge Trail.
Since on the map this trail appeared to follow the river fairly closely, I expected it to be relatively easy, and it was, aside from the occasional slope (including the times I scrambled down to the river’s edge). I mostly had to watch my step for tree roots or rocks, or when the path narrowed slightly.
Several times I stepped off the path just to get closer to the river. The quiet burbling of the current or the louder rush of rapids drew me in with their peaceful rhythms. But mostly, the light compelled my attention: dark trees, patches of light, smooth reflections — all proved utterly irresistible.
Aside from one fisherman on the first part of the trail, I encountered no other humans on my hike, though I raced a goose swimming by and inadvertently chased off a white-tailed deer. The trail, two miles one way, was just the right length for a pleasant morning hike, with occasional outcroppings of big rocks where I could stop for a snack or water break as needed. By the end of my round trip, however, the high humidity and climbing temps made me more than ready to head back home.
I still have a couple trails to tackle at Mohican, and I’m considering leaving them for fall, when the weather is less likely to be hot and humid and the leaves become more colorful. But who knows? This lush green woodland might yet draw me back this summer.