Last year around the summer solstice, Nick and I decided to take on Siltstone, a 13.4 mile out-and-back hike at Jefferson Memorial Forest. Although exhausted, we envisioned it as an annual tradition and for the past couple months have been counting down until go time.
Yesterday we got up at 6AM and made it out to the trailhead by 7:45. The benefit of doing this near the solstice is the great amount of daylight we can utilize even on the wooded trail.
Siltstone is known as a strenuous hike. The trail winds its way around and over the knobs. It has more than 3,000 feet of total elevation gain, though Nick and I believe that the descents are actually more fatiguing on our legs.
It’s typically very quiet out on these trails, making it hard to believe you’re still in Jefferson County and the Louisville Metro area. We didn’t see a single person on the way out, meaning that we were also the ones to knock down all the spider webs. Along the way we did see four snakes (eek!), a deer, two box turtles, a handful of toads, and two wild turkeys who flew down into the valley when we approached.
We came prepared with lots of water, extra water because the high was in the 90s, electrolyte tabs (I like nuun), fruit and Larabars for lunch, insect repellent, a watch, and a cell phone. Next year we’re going to include a tiny first aid kit. We made a commitment to pause every hour for a quick water break and tick check.
We made really good time this year, likely because we are more experienced this time around. Last year, without a watch and unfamiliar with the trail, time passed very slowly because we had no idea how far we’d come or how far we had to go. Now, we’re more familiar with the trail and were able to identify landmarks that helped chart our progress. Knowing that we were averaging about 30 minute miles, the watch also helped me know our approximate location.
After a few quick victory photos, we hopped in the car, cranked the AC, and headed back home. A shower has rarely felt so good. We then shuffled down the street to Impellizzeri’s Pizza, just like last year, and devoured a veggie pizza. We both slept really well last night, and I thankfully had the foresight to book a massage for this morning, for which I am very, very excited.
Until next year, Siltstone!