Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Hiking Knob Noster State Park's Opossum Hollow Trail

Trail Sign, Your mileage may vary.
It was a late winter day, mid-February, with unseasonably warm temperatures with highs in the 60's when I hiked the Opossum Hollow Trail at Knob Noster State Park.  This is a 5.5 mile trail with several connector trails to shorten or lengthen a hike.  The connectors allow you to break up the trail into three separate loops each a few miles long. I had hiked portions of this trail over past months in training to complete the entire trail. 

Knob Noster SP was originally the Montserrat Recreational Demonstration Area from the 1930's. A part of the Work's Progress Administration (WPA) Program.  The idea behind the project was to create outdoor recreational areas near major metropolitan areas to give people an opportunity to enjoy the outdoors. 

The area where the trail is located is old farmland but is now mostly woodland in which you'll find remnants from previous landowners farms and some old road beds. Older maps indicate the presence of several old roads throughout the area.  Occasionally you can find an old road bed along the way.

Sullivan Lake
There are five lakes in the state park all built by the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) in the 1930's. They are Buteo Lake, Clearfork Lake, Morel Lake, Sullivan Lake and Redbud Lake (now drained).  The trail passes by Sullivan Lake, a heavily trafficked area as evidenced by the well trodden path around the lower half of the lake.

I struggled with the later third of the hike by simply running out of energy.  I had a light breakfast, as I normally do which was a mistake.  According to my FitBit I had burned almost 3000 calories during my hike.  In the future I will need to eat a more substantial breakfast.  

I also ended up with a fairly painful blister on the ball of my left foot as well as calluses on both feet. Wearing my shoes tighter and duct taping portions of my feet should help address that problem in the future.

After the hike I grabbed a quick lunch and returned to hang my hammock in the old pine grove picnic area that had been planted by the CCC boys.  It was relaxing and beautiful. My hammock is an ENO DoubleNest with Atlas Straps.  Its affordable, lightweight and comfortable.

A map showing my route. The total distance was 6.4 miles with 630 feet of elevation change and completed in 4:35 including rest breaks.

Map image courtesy of CalTopo.com

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