Pleasant Ridge County Park
This hike is pretty significant y'all. Why? Because it was my first solo hike. 5(ish) miles of me, myself, and I. Once I decided that all the noises I kept hearing were just squirrels, and not some serial killer stalking me, it was quite pleasant. Hiking on a warm October day, with the leaves just starting to show a bit of color, all by myself, was just what I needed (although cooler fall weather...WHERE ARE YOU?!!?!)
I have known about Pleasant Ridge County Park for some time as our church youth group attends the Camp & Retreat Center here. And I can see why it's popular with children and adults alike - it's a fantastic place. In fact, it's home to Camp Spearhead and Camp Courage , where kids with cancer, blood disorders, or special needs get to be just to be just that - KIDS.
So...I did a little off the trail exploring. There is a gleaming pool next to the gorgeous retreat center. And an awesome ropes course that I gave serious thought to climbing up, but feared cameras would catch me and I would be arrested. Or I would fall and no one would find me for days (not a soul was around!). Really though, just a great place to get away!
The focus was to hike, and hike I did. 5ish miles in the woods on a trail that seemed like would be best used as a mountain biking trail. Which, actually, it is!
PLEASANT RIDGE STATE PARK: JFA TRAIL TIPS
JFA stands for Jorge Francisco Arango. From what I can gather, he loved mountain biking and dogs.
5.3 mile loop
Bikers ride the opposite way as hikers (watch those curves so you don't get run over!). And apparently this rotates on a monthly schedule so you get the opportunity to hike / bike both ways. That's excellent!
On Tuesdays and Thursdays you can bike until 10 PM (any direction allowed)
Know the Trail Rules
I almost hiked the full 5.3 miles...but do you see that cute little dark purple line named Sassy's Pass? Well I may or may not have used that cut-through. So it may or may not have been a bit shorter of a hike than 5.3 miles. Hopefully I didn't miss anything too fantastic (LET ME KNOW IF SO I HAVE FOMO AND WILL GO BACK!).
It's a great trail, but you are alongside the park roads for some of it, and hear a lot of the traffic from that and Hwy 11. There are definitely some interesting stops along the way, such as a cat and a lonesome chimney. Oh and be sure to visit the fishing pond! (which is up the road from the JFA trailhead)
It was a great time to reflect, connect with God, think about anything and everything, pray I don't get murdered, and get in some good exercise.
Until next Tuesday, Happy Trails!