Today was our second day of sunshine before the next Spring storm is supposed to roll in. We took advantage of this sunbreak with a short loop hike in one of our favorite local spots – Jacksonville Forest Park. Given the present situation, we were hesitant to do this hike given the park’s popularity. But we figured that with 30+ miles of trail and 7 trailheads spread over 1,080 acres, we could configure a route that kept us from encountering too many other people. Plus today was a weekday – something that always helps with crowds. We’ll skip going to this park on weekends for the foreseeable future.
We parked at the P-5 Trailhead and went up the Twin Peaks Trail to the overlook on Twin Peaks. On the way up we passed one woman with two dogs. Then we descended and took the Atsahu Trail past the Norling Mine and on up to the top of Jackson Ridge. Here we saw, some 50+ feet away, one man and a dog. From the ridge we went down to Jackson Creek on the Jackson Ridge Trail, then down the Jackson Creek Nature Trail and back to P-5 on the Canyon Vista Trail. We passed one woman, a small boy, and a little dog on the Canyon Vista Trail. Both the boy and the dog seemed to have vast amounts of energy to expend and were busy doing so. Ah, youth!
In the end, a pleasant six mile loop with 1,000 or so feet of gain during which we passed three people and saw one. So success in avoiding crowds! Less success with sunshine. It was sunny when we arrived at the trailhead and sunny when we got back to it but mostly overcast when we were actually on the trail. Oh, Sun, how fickle art thou? Now we can hunker down (like shelter-in-place but with cocktails) for a few days while the out-of-doors is lashed with waves of rain and snow. Then the pursuit of obscure, uncrowded hikes will continue… 🙂HOME