Near the end of my vacation I spent two days with my friend Troy on his organic farm near Cambridge Springs, PA. Like most of my friends, Troy is a cyclist and not a hiker, and so we spent our time riding. But I wanted to get my boots dirty at least once more before I traveled to Pine Creek Gorge and took on the Raven’s Horn, so I scanned the Internet for a hiking trail. Having stumbled across the Trolley Trail, I planned to hike it one afternoon, after a ride with Troy.
Our trip to Meadville and the Ernst Trail went much longer than I anticipated, and we didn’t get back to the farm until very late in the day. I changed from my cycling shoes to my trail runners and drove over to the trailhead outside of Cambridge Springs. The light was beautiful, giving a glow to the surrounding hills. I walked out into the wetlands field surrounding the trailhead with enthusiasm.
But the enthusiasm didn’t last. I’m not sure why I turned around a half mile into the 1.5 mile trail. The hiking wasn’t difficult. The trail was well-marked and level, and not rocky at all. Looking back, there were probably two reasons I left when I did.
One was it had been a long day. I’d ridden 17 miles with Troy, who is a much stronger cyclist than I am, and even if I didn’t feel drained, I had some fatigue. The second was that I’d been two weeks on the road, ridden nearly 240 miles, hiked 8, and driven four hundred some. I’d ridden every day for a week. While I call myself a formerly sedentary man, I’m not to the point I can be active constantly. So I was worn down. Again not so much physically as mentally. I needed, subconsciously, a break. So I turned around.
The problem with turning around where I did was that I missed the best parts of the trail. The Trolley Trail, as the name implies, follows an old trolley line. The trail has small stone bridges further towards Cambridge Springs, and passes near an old cemetery. Had I continued I’d have seen them and stopped for many photographs.
Fortunately for me, the Trolley Trail will still be there. Troy is a friend I don’t see enough of and his farm is a slice of heaven. I will be back, and when rested and in a better mood, hike the trail with a lighter heart.