Today I was back at it and went back to the same Black Diamond Mines Regional Park to do more hiking. My goal is to hike everything it has to offer and it offers 60+ miles of trails. So far I’ve done about 18 miles, but more importantly I’ve seen bits and partial pieces of so many trails. At this point I have a great understanding of the map, direction and trail names. I can count at least 9 different trails that I have had the pleasure of hiking. To name them, I’ve done the Nortonsville Trail, Coal Canyon, Black Diamond, Manhattan, Chaparral, Stewartsville, Ridge Trail, Corcoran Mine, and Old Miners trail.
Today was a much more difficult. I ended up hiking about 10.5 miles. 10.5 fucking miles. It was uphill both ways. Lol. It literally was.
The Ridge Trail to Prospect Tunnel is listed as very difficult. The hike is 9.5 miles long and climbs 1200ft. On the way to the Ridge Trail you take the Stewartsville Trail and you run off onto the Ridge Trail – after that you take the Ridge Trail to the Corcoran Mine trail – but in my case I passed up the turn off and walked another mile downhill. I figured it out and walked back uphill to my turn off and walked down the Corcoran Mine Trail. It is much steeper than the picture reveals.
Once I navigated down the Corcoran Mine Trail I was greeted with a T intersection which was the Stewartsville Trail – Yes, the same one as before. It is a long trail that goes around the park. Since I was trying to do something much harder in difficulty I chose to do the popular Ridge Trail to Prospect Tunnel versus leisurely walking around the entire park on the Stewartsville Trail. I went left and found my way to the smaller trail that leads to the Prospect Tunnel. Once at the tunnel I had a congratulatory beer. Yes, a beer. Looking at the tunnel was weird. I expected to go through the cave and check it out, but I found myself wondering what was inside. I took a long hard look at the map and noticed that the tunnel did not go all the way through. It was only about 400-500 ft long and then I would have to trek back to the opening. I decided not to go all the way in to the tunnel. Instead I walked in about 200 ft and then turned around. This was partially because I only had my cell phone as a flash light, I was scared of what could be living inside and it smelled weird.
As I started to go in I turned my flashlight on and it did not work. This forced me to use my cell phone as a flash light. Once I got into the cave/tunnel about 250 ft I noticed a very unpleasant smell. The temperature dropped a few degrees and the ground went from stone to sand. At first the change freaked me out and I thought something was at my feet. I wrapped up my time at the tunnel and left.
I continued down the Stewartsville Trail and wondered which way I would chose to get home. I decided to stop and look at my map at the first marker I saw. Going in the same direction continued me onto the Stewartsville Trail and turning right and up, essentially, took me to a trail called Old Miners Trail. I literally remember thinking, “fuck it. why not.”
The picture does not do the trail justice. This trail is steep. I might super steep. This trail hugs the side of a very tall hill. On the left of you is a sharp cliff. This trail got even worse just around the corner of where this picture ends.
What you’re looking at is a trail. Not an average trail, but a trail. It is literally the width of your foot plus a half of a foot. Not 12 inches, your literal foot. I found myself walking on the crest and hoping that I didn’t fall.
This trip was taxing. In the end I hiked 10.5 miles. I took a very difficult trail and made it much more difficult. Missing the Corcoran Mine trail, having to hike back uphill a mile to get back on my trail, and taking the old miners trail back home were 3 things that made this more difficult. This trail is a popular one. It’s called Ridge Trail to Prospect Tunnel and it is usually 9.5 miles.
Would I do it again? Probably. I had a blast and I loved all of the trails and all of the pictures I took.