The Picklesimer ride begins at the rear of the fish hatchery parking lot just below Looking Glass Rock in Brevard Nc. To be more accurate, the ride starts at the base of John Rock. The trail guides that got me interested in doing this ride are not very clear on some of the most important details of getting on this trail. Things like, just exactly what is considered to be the back of the parking lot? Suffice it to say that the back of the parking lot that the guide referred to is not the same as the back of the parking lot that I had pictured. So.......instantly, I'm heading in the wrong direction on the wrong trail. Of course I didn't realize this until I had cranked my way up several very long hills and had used up all the energy that should have been directed to riding on the right trail.(unnamed waterfall along the trail:photo by me of me)
When I began to realize that I was not going in the right direction, the question of just exactly how many backs of the parking lots can there be? Well, the answer is two. But not all was lost however. For every uphill climb, there is an equal and opposite downhill thrill ride. It just doesn't last as long as the uphill. Once I made my wqy back down the mountain, I noticed a small trail with bike tracks going off to the right. I found it! This is the back of the parking lot! It didn't seem like the back of a parking lot but nonetheless, there were bike tracks on it. This was a pretty good sign that this just might be the trail in question. So I make a sharp right and off down the trail I go. After a few decent uphill climbs and a rest break or twoI come out on the very same road that I was just on. As a matter of fact, it came out about 50 yards from where I turned around. Now I'm totally confused. So for lack of a better plan I just stay on this road and decide to follow it and see it had to offer. Basically nothing is what it had to offer. This is a four lane interstate for a bicycle. Not much fun at all. Mostly gravel, lots of road dust and cars flying by. I have almost decided to turn back and give it up for a loss when I come upon a gravel road off to the left. The gate was locked so that means no cars, no dust and a nice easy ride to somewhere. So I hang a left here, go around the gate again begin to climb another mountain not knowing where it will lead. I got nothing to loose, I'm already lost! Well, sort of anyway. I can't find the trail I came for and that makes me feel lost. I'm just about ready to turn back again and head for the car and pack it in for the day when up in front of me I spy a couple out for a day hike. They looked like they knew where they were going so I wheeled up to them and asked them just where the heck am I and where is the trail I' looking for. They had all the answers. As it turns out, the trail I came for intersected the road that i was already on and the spot where we stopped to talk was right in front of the trail that I needed to be on. So after looking at his map for a few minutes and getting a mental picture of what I needed to do, I thanked them for getting me pointed in the right direction and I pedal off. Basically down the hill and two left turns gets me back to where I should have been to start with. I leave Picklesimer that day after riding only about two miles of an eleven mile loop that I wanted to do, but I didn't leave with a sense of defeat. I didn't do all that I set out to do that day. I did something more than that, I did something that had no planning involved. As the old saying goes, “If you want to hear God laugh, just tell him what your plans are”.
(this sign marks the intersection of Butter Gap and Long Branch trails:photo by me)