Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Henry Clay Iron Furnace

Monday Keith and I went up to Coopers Rock and hiked the Henry Clay Iron Furnace Trail. We parked near the furnace, and the trail down into the valley was relatively short but rocky. I love coming up on the Iron Furnace, it looks like some kind of ancient Mayan ruin looming up from the forest floor. I love crawling into the Furnace too, but it still makes me a little bit nervous every time.

After we'd gotten our fill of Furnace, we took off up the trail behind it. Though the trail wasn't marked with blazes very often, it was easy to follow and of moderate difficulty. Rocks, Rocks, Rocks! I had to watch my footing so as not to go sprawling down the mountainside.

After about an hour of that and a short jaunt off-trail to check out some neat rocks, we intersected the Inner Loop cross country ski trail and took that for about half an hour. I thought that trail would loop back and intersect with the Iron Furnace Trail, but I was either wrong or we didn't go far enough. About 2 PM we decided to turn around and go back the way we came, so we could be home in time to meet the school bus.

We power walked out of the park, and I am glad I took the time to take some pictures on the way in. I only found 4 different wildflowers. One was the humble Wood Violet, which was by far the most common ornament along the trail. The other three I haven't identified, but I feel like I should know what at least one of them is called. There are pictures of them in the slideshow. If you recognize any of them (or know what kind of Butterfly it was that we met) then leave me a comment and I'll know too!

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