4.72 miles in 2:08, 10,145 steps, 416ft gain
As much as I like the route today, there are some disadvantages to crossing at the Southernmost point on the trails. That's at mile marker 2 on the map, and it wouldn't really be possible if the creek had much water in it. I walked across at the water level stepping on rocks, but if it was any deeper, the only other choice would have been a "bridge" made of a single board. I'm just not an acrobat.
Also, as I was climbing out, a dog started barking down below. Pretty sure someone's campsite was nearby. Creeeeeepy.
Heading down that way, I realized my technique has improved quite a bit. I'm starting to understand why people like to run on trails. If you move quickly and don't overthink every step, it's much less scary. Like carrying a martini; if you keep your eye on it and go too slowly, your hands will shake and you'll start to spill. Focus on walking instead and you'll probably fare better.
Seems a little early for Autumn, but there were leaves everywhere.
It occurs to me that all this fun I'm having on the trails is mostly made possible by the hot, dry summer we're having. There was one big muddy spot on the trail I had to contend with, and if the rest of the trails end up like that, I'll have to stick to the center and return via the roads.
I tried to recreate a couple of recent photos from memory with the new phone.
At point A on the map, there was a fork in the trail, and I chose to go left because I was hoping to get back down to the center while avoiding the steep, sandy trails heading down around point B. It wasn't nearly as direct a path as I thought it'd be, and I ended up seeing a whole bunch of trail that I'd never been on before.
I also wasn't expecting to be let out at the section of tracks that is so much higher than the center trail.
That's just after the 4-mile mark. There was more trail I could have jumped back onto, but I was ready to get back to the car. What boggles my mind is that in all this time on the trails today, I didn't see a single other person.