Track download from Jerry : Forest Park 2-13-23.gpx
The forecast for approaching snow did not hold back the Monday hikers. Six came together at Rite Aid parking and met three more at the Jacksonville Library parking lot. We headed a short drive up Highway 238 to the turn off for Forest Park.
Jerry again agreed to lead us through the canyon's maze of trails that he is very familiar with from his weekly hikes in the park. We learned there are seven trailheads in Forest Park that can be reached using the many parking areas going up the creek. He had a hike planned for us that took us up the northside of the canyon and around and down the southside with stops at viewpoints on each side.
We had pretty good luck with the weather during most of the hike with the sun breaking through the clouds to enhance the views and provide some warmth on the trail.
After a few miles of ups and downs, we came to Pipsissewa TH (named after the pretty pink wildflowers that aren't out yet) and headed up and up the trail using rocks for stepping stones. As we gained elevation we started to notice white stuff falling from above and the wind picking up. Finally, when the view up the trail opened to gray skies, we had arrived at Knobcone Pine viewpoint and our lunch spot. The trees named for the spot provided some shelter as the falling snow was pushed along by the wind.
The snow shortened our lunch so after sharing almond roca all around and getting our group shot we headed back down. As we descended the snow stopped and the sun came out again.
We took the Rail Trail back around to the northside of the canyon and stopped to read about the 1917 fatal train accident at the site of the collapsed trestle.
We kept following the trail down until we crossed a bridge over the creek. After making our way through a flood plan we came up the trail and met the road and our parking area. We had gone about 4.5 miles with lots of gain.
Most of our hiking party headed into Jacksonville for refreshments.