Sunset Rocks


Yesterday, Brandi and I went into the woods in hopes of completing another 10 miles of the Appalachian trail. It was kind of a misty, dreary day, so we had the whole woods all to ourselves.

Leaves are falling
The leaves are starting to turn.

We saw a sign for a blue-blazed bypass trail called “Sunset rocks.” It sounded pleasant enough, like maybe it was a retirement home for mountain climbers or something. It was only 2.5 miles long, and the map showed a scenic overlook on it, so we figured that would make a nice place to have lunch.

The trail wandered through the woods, and then shot straight up an evil climb. This is to be expected on the way to a scenic vista.

The view was somewhat less spectacular than I was hoping, obscured by trees, but pretty nonetheless.

The view from sunset rocks
The view from the overlook

The trail kept climing, so, hoping for better views, we pressed on. Things rapidly went to shit from here. We quickly found ourselves on a craggy boulder outcropping. The blazes were painted directly on the boulders. We successfully navigated maybe 2 or three of these things before I fell. Maybe 8 feet, but it easily could have been 20 or more. I got scraped up, and I hurt my shoulder pretty bad.

Now, we were in a world of shit. I had only limited use of my right arm. I didn’t think I would be able to go back the way I came, but the way forward was equally bad. The rocks were wet and covered in lichen.

Battle wounds
My battle scars

We made a guess that after a half mile of these boulders, we should almost be done with them, so we pressed on slowly. After a few more (less dramatic) falls, we made it back to the AT.
We did manage to get our 10 miles in.

Today, I can’t even lift my arm far enough to put on deodorant. If it’s no better in a day or two, I guess I’ll have to seek out medical attention.

Anyhow, for the benefit of google (and everyone, I guess), and since there are no signs warning people about this:

The Sunset Rocks trail in the Michaux State Forest is a fairly technical bouldering trail. Do not attempt unless you are experienced, insane, and have a good life insurance policy. At least if it’s been raining out.

If you like pictures, there are more pictures of this trip in my gallery.