I was right! Most of the center path heading up looked like this.
Very nice. Mud that crunches when you walk is so much better than mud that squishes. There were a couple of wet muddy spots, but nothing major. Apparently I stepped in one and didn't even notice.
That dried and wiped off easily when I got home. No big deal. My back was hurting a little bit, so I wasn't looking for a big long route. I just wanted a good climb, which is what the waterfront walks really lack. I decided to go all the way up and curve onto that one service road, and head back. I checked several side trails and decided they just weren't worth it. The creek was flowing heavily with icy water, and I figured anything really steep might be pretty slick if it was covered in frozen leaves. So out and back was nice.
3.4 miles in 1:09, 7,319 steps, 399ft gain
The timing was good. It takes a while for the sun to get into the middle because the sides are so high. I didn't want to be around when everything started melting, so it was good that it wasn't really even close yet when I was on the access road.
That minor back pain was my body politely asking for some yoga. I should definitely oblige tomorrow.