3/21/2010 3½ miles, 1½ hours
Early morning hike up the Violet trail to check the crossing between the Red Triangle and Circle trails for the Waterfall hike I talked about last entry. Then a switch over to the Blue trail west to the tower, and back down the Tower Path ending in the park’s parking lot.
As I came over a rise in the trail, three startled deer bolted off. They were hidden in the trees, all I saw at first was the flash of their white tails as they took off up the hill. But a single hiker doesn't scare this bunch. They stopped about 50 feet off the trail, and started nibbling around again. Two watching me, one eating. Another quarter mile through the woods, five more deer were off on the left. They just kept walking – alert, watching me, but not running away. Again about 100 feet off the trail, this group stopped and kept watch. One stomped it’s hooves at me. If I remember Deer 101, that means he's not sure if I'm a threat or not, and stomps to evoke a response. My response? I’ll keep walking. But I won't turn my back on him just yet.
The Violet trail is an easy walk at this point, running between the Triangle and Circle trails. It crosses a couple of streams along the way, though I think these will be dry in the summer. The Violet trail continues to the east end of the park, but I turn off here and head south on the Circle trail for a short distance, and then turn west on the Blue trail toward the Tower.
The Blue trail runs the 5 mile length of the park, and is the most challenging trail on the mountain. It runs along the highest elevations, so offers great views. I’m saving it for later in the year, but today am using it to cut back to the Tower Path. After a steep rock climb, the trail leads into a clearing and to the Tower.