Mistletoe State Park has 15 miles of nature trails and yesterday our Apple Watch clocked us at 8 of those on the Cliatt Creek and Rock Dam loops. The last big hike we recalled taking was in July of last year when we walked 10 miles from downtown Charleston to St. James County Park after a shrimp and grits dinner. This time we were walking off a blueberry smoothie and teff bread breakfast.
It was a two mile bike ride to the trail head, then, according to the trail map, 1.5 up the Cliatt Creek to access the 6.25 Rock Dam and close the 1.75 mile Cliatt loop. That adds up to 11.25, but we’re going with what Apple said, not that we’re keeping track or anything.
The trail was mostly wooded, some areas dark and dank, some open with full sun. We crossed a few streams, hiked in and out of ravines, side-stepped a tree rooted ridge above the lake. Eric walked with a stick to clear spider webs while Sheri hunted for wild mushrooms to pass the monotony with nary a sight nor sound of wildlife. There were signs of animals, and by “signs” we mean posts with actual signs attached featuring local stars like this one. As for actual, real life animals – no sign.
In the end it was us with one butterfly and two tiny toads. We would occasionally talk to each other about some random thought when we weren’t silently walking, measuring our breath and brushing the imaginary bugs off our bodies and out of our hair. We agreed that if there’s no magical vista or giant waterfall or other freak of nature to see on a 10 mile hike, we’re sticking to the e-bikes.
Sheri ran out of battery and photographed more than two dozen varieties of wild mushrooms. Look for the coffee table book “The Great Mushroom Hunt” just in time for Christmas.