I set out to Hawk Falls, while the rest of the group played paintball. I ventured into the woods a little apprehensive because this was my first solo hike. I wandered around the meandering trail lined with rhododendrons and discovered a beautiful naturally made 25 foot waterfall at the end of the trail. This was a short hike so my confidence grew and I hopped back into the car on the look for more of a challenge.
Shades of Death
Despite the name, I decided to hike the Shades of Death Trail. The trail begins along a steep cliff that follows a river that use to be used for logging. I ran across multiple man made dams complete with waterfalls that were the remains of a 1800’s logging mill. As I walked along this picturesque trail, I saw signs of spring that were poking out of the ground and new buds forming on the trees. I was glad to finally see green life that was being fed by the streams, after a long and brutal winter.
Manor House Trail
My final solo hike of the day was the Manor House Trail, which is toward the western edge of the state park, bordering state game lands. I started hiking the rocky leaf covered trail and discovered that this trail was not like the others. Furthermore, the trail felt very secluded, quiet, and desolate. There weren’t any signs of life in this part of the park, the trees were bare, and the dead leaves littered the ground. I made it three quarters of the way in and discovered bear excrement and then the reality of my situation set in; I was alone in the woods! I check my phone and discovered that this area was the home to a lot of animals, including bears. My courage wavered and I decided to turn around and call it a day. At the end of the day, I felt proud of myself for venturing into the woods alone and actually enjoyed peaceful surroundings and solace that the woods offered.