Back to the top of Reservoir Road to give the Finger Trail another try--no running since I would be going longer and my goal was to stay on the trail the entire way.
This hike was done in a counter-clockwise loop this time, which meant that I should know the trail fairly well for the last 75% of the loop which I had covered on Monday.
This time I brought more food, drank a lot of water just before starting, and I had power pack along to ensure that my phone wouldn't run low.
Still managed to have a least three head-scratching sessions when I thought I was off trail, but all were resolved just by being patient and looking around slowly.
Nonetheless, this is a tough trail, despite the seemingly benign stats. The difficulty arises from a number of factors:
1) It's all trail with lots of roots, rocks, blow-downs to slow you down.
2) It's a bike trail, so they love to go up and down, over every rock face possible, and it has tons of hair-pin turns.
3) It's totally unmarked, but the bikes have made a noticeable track in most places. The problems arise when they don't tear up the ground. :-)
4) It's so twisty that a compass is of little use; even if you know the general direction, the trail meanders so many times, and with swings in every direction, that it's very easy to become confused, especially on a cloudy day.
5) It requires a phone with GPS and a decent map if you hope to stay on track.
6) Water is scarce, there's only one brook that I would drink from, and that after filtering the water; so you need to carry a bit of weight to stay hydrated.
But don't get me wrong--this is a fantastic trail to get away from traffic, loud noises, crowded trails, or trash-lined trails/roads. You get peace and quiet, some beautiful trees, and a chance to be truly alone.
I spent some time clearing the trail when I first started, but it dawned on me that would slow me down too much, so I cut back on that, only taking things off the trails that were easy to remove--mainly by flicking them off with my feet.http://www.movescount.com/moves/move287698778