Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Bald Knob Cross

The park service person mentioned that a friend hiked Bald Knob Cross a few times before heading to Colorado and that it was the highest point in IL (I have not tried to verify this). They told me it was about 1,000 feet, so still not very high. But I figured it would be good for me. 

I did manage to get in an hour or so nap in the morning light after my short night. So my start was later than I would have liked. But thanks to the 'polar vortex' the temps still weren't too high last week (last Thursday). I followed signs and quickly realized the road was taking me to the top. It is a loop trail and my preference was to start and end on the bottom rather than saving the hike up for last. It did allow for me to see the cross from afar though. 

Once I found the trailhead (which was down a couple gravel roads), it took me a little time to organize myself, so I didn't start hiking til almost 11. Then, I had to find the trail which was harder than expected. But eventually I found the white diamonds nailed to successive trees and I followed. 

It looked like there were some fairly recent downed trees on the path and there were spider webs everywhere! I had my trekking poles with me and I started throwing them out ahead of me, even above my head, to try and clear webs before I ran into them with my face. I hate spiders. The bugs were around but not too horrible considering I sprayed my exposed skin and was covered almost everywhere. No one was there to take my pic, but I had my heavy duty hiking boots, tall socks, hiking pants, icebreaker (merino wool) short sleeved shirt with a long sleeved button up on over it, sunglasses and topped off with my sun/hiking hat that I love. Only when I had to stop to pee did the mosquitoes find somewhere to bite (and my hips itched all weekend). 

The trail says it's 1.5 miles. My hiking app said as high as 4 miles. Based on the level of phone service, I think my phone was quite a bit off. However it still took two hours up and one down. I didn't eat lunch until 1  but finished off my tuna and tortillas along with some other items. There was a breeze up top that helped dry me out, I took some pics and a toilet break before heading back down. It was a good hike and I felt like I could tell a difference in my endurance (but who really knows). 

Then I got on the road for a 3.5 hour drive to Memphis for the weekend. So glad everyone has the 70mph limits now :). 

**One more item of note - I found my first ever attached tick on my leg after ending my hike, and one crawling up the outside of my pants that I brushed off. I think that's actually pretty good considering all the alerts for tick season and other comments I've read. I thank all my clothing :). 

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