My first venture into backpacking began last Friday with a day hike on Swift Run, a trail that goes to the mountain top and then circles back down. Our hike began at a gravel parking lot along the run. Nearby, a foot bridge spanned the crystal clear water gushing over moss covered rocks.
My friend, Scoop, and I donned our gear and started up the mountainside. The first part of the trail followed Swift Run through very rocky terrain. Despite the day’s cool temperature, we kept a sharp lookout for snakes – didn’t want to surprise any copperheads or rattlers.
Along much of the trail we noticed wooden boxes—the size of a bird house—attached high on tree trunks. Each box had its own number. Does anyone know if these boxes are bird houses, or for something else?
We also encountered a number of freshly fallen trees across the trail, apparently from recent windy storms. Fortunately, someone had sawn chunks out of a number of the fallen trees trunks to open up the trail, otherwise some places would have been almost impassable.
Eventually the trail crossed over the stream and switch-backed up the steep mountainside. Along here we had to side-step a pile of bear scat on the trail, but we never saw or heard any bruins. Big relief!
The trail leveled out a bit as we came to a clearing at the top of the mountain. Years ago a fire tower once stood in this spot, now long gone except for the concrete foundation. We stopped here and ate our lunch.
Rested and hydrated, we resumed our hike. The trail turned and wove back down the mountainside. Scoop looked for and found the remains of a small plane that had crashed into the mountain during the 1980’s. The twisted sheets of crumpled aluminum still resembled parts of a plane’s wing and fuselage.
The trail down the mountain had more fallen trees across it than we encountered going up. Whoever had cut through the other trees had not continued to the trail’s end. At times it felt like an obstacle course as we climbed over, under or across the trees blocking our way.
The hike took several hours and it seemed like we had trekked for miles and miles. But according to the trail map, Swift Run Trail is only 3.4 miles long.
No one will ever convince me that all of nature’s beauty and intricacy came about by chance, from nothing for no reason. I saw God’s creative fingerprints everywhere on the mountain.