The most challenging trail at White Pines Inn is the Sleepy Hollow trail.
It is aptly named as many trees look like creepy creatures even in the daytime.
All trails close at sunset, and this is definitely not an area to violate that notion.
Roots and rocks along the path make for tricky terrain.
The stairs at the beginning of the trail make you think twice about whether to take on the challenge.
Armed with my walking stick I felt confident at wandering here alone.
I have two walking sticks but being the shutterbug I am one is more manageable.
The trail had me thinking a lot about spookiness and monsters and nightmares both on the imaginary and figurative level.
My new benchmark of challenging trails is the Samaria Gorge which I hiked with a group in May 2011.
That 17-day Greek island-hopping trip without cell phone connection (due to a phone company glitch) had me overcome many fears associated with traveling alone, being in unfamiliar places without GPS and having a language barrier to boot.
So compared to that I knew the creepy atmosphere and more tricky portions of the path were easy.
The overlookâ€™s erosion certainly is something to note and be cautious about.
All White Pines trails form a loop, so as long as you stay on the path you also know where you come out, which adds more comfort.
Incidentally, my phoneâ€™s GPS also gave out near White Pines, having me resort to the old-fashioned way of navigating how to get to my destination.
The trails are clearly marked and stairs ensure no one slips down steep hills.
It comes with a 5’4″ height requirement though. Taller people might lose their head if they don’t duck. 😉
Before 2011 the potential of slipping into the creek would have deterred me from crossing the waters, but my walking stick gave me the needed support to keep going rather than turning around.
This trail is a boon for bird-watchers, as many enjoyed the higher elevations to gather and hold chatty meetings.
It also is the most interesting of the trails, as you get to experience different elevations, a nice overlook, and the crossing of creeks which makes for different scenery.
This being a short trail, just over 1 mile, I wasnâ€™t concerned with being lost.
I drew the line at crossing this area by myself though, which was a branch off the trail and likely has a more accessible entry on the other side).
On a weekday I had the trail to myself, which meant I didnâ€™t have to worry about the intentions of other humans along the way.
From the cabin area interactions this park attracts the type of people who just want to be in nature and relax, so in general this park feels safe to a lone traveler. (During holidays parks crowded with visitors tend to have a less peaceful vibe to me).
Mid-October is a lovely time to take in all the fall colors, observe leaves falling and see the seasonal transition up close.
After a few creek crossings, some climbs and descends, you come back to the beginning.
Some lovely vistas reward the exercise.
Fire safety is prominent as well.
And multiple locks keep a lone traveler safe in the cabin.
You don’t have to stay at the White Pines Inn to hike the park, by the way.
There are picnic areas and parking for day-trip visitors as well.
I look forward to returning here soon.
If you’re a lone lady pondering a solo trip but not sure if you have the moxie, the lovely Wanderlust and Lipstick web site will help you along (their book was my guidepost during my first solo road trip across 6 states).