By the Rice Family
The rain moved out this past Sunday morning giving us our first opportunity to head outdoors. We decided to head down to Arcadia and hike a section of the Shelter Trail to a long abandoned camp.
Blazed white, the Shelter Trail extends for 3.85 miles within the Arcadia Management Area’s14,000 largely wooded acres, connecting the Breakheart & J.B. Hudson Trails.
We started our section hike from the trail head parking area on Austin Farm Rd. The trail is wide, covered with Pine needles, well worn, clearly blazed and lead us along side of the steady flowing Flat River for quite a distance. The footing is great with few rocks, although there are some roots to watch for. We walked and talked for about a 1/2 mile or so when we spotted our first wildflower, Pink Lady Slipper! *Endangered in some states*
As we continued on, the trail turned left, heading up a hill passing over multiple water steps and water bars. We had helped install these during a trail maintenance project a few weeks before with the AMC, and were very interested to see how they held up during the heavy rain. Once we reached the top of the hill, there stood the first building of the long abandoned camp.
This is a great place for a break. As you can see, the building offers a nice shady spot to sit, rest and have a snack. Passing this first building the trail turns into an abandoned fire/log road and becomes more dirt & gravel like. (Careful, we have seen vehicles use this.) Hiking further we passed other collapsed buildings that we could only see through the trees. Eventually we walked by a large stone fireplace with a tall chimney and arrived at an intersection. The Shelter Trail turns right heading to connect with the Penny Cutoff and Breakheart Trail. If you continue straight on the road, you’ll be dumped back out onto Austin Farm Rd. We turned left, uphill for a short distance. This trail is un-named & un-blazed but very easy to follow. It lead us to the main area of the abandoned camp. Once we were there the kids explored a few of the buildings. It might be a great idea to bring a metal detector as a friend recently suggested, “You never know what you’ll find”.
Stone Fireplace & Chimney
Do Not Enter
Once we were done exploring the area, we continued on the un-named trail downhill where it put us back onto the Shelter Trail, turn right here and we were headed back to our car.
Out and back is about 1 mile to 1 1/2 miles. Check it out!