Otter Creek Trail
TRAIL DISTANCE - 11 miles
TYPE - Backpack (2 nights)
Otter Creek Wilderness is an amazing place, especially if you go during the week when there are fewer hikers sharing the woods with you. This trip also included our daughter, Stefani. This will be her second backpacking trip ever, and she is also trying out a new pack, so we decided to avoid any difficult climbs and just enjoy the waterworks of Otter Creek. So we left home on Tuesday morning and we parked at the Condon Run Trailhead and the plan was to hike up the Otter Creek Trail, basecamp near the large swimming hole past Moore Run Trail, and day hike some the following day and then hike back to the trailhead on Thursday.
It was a beautiful 3 days in the woods (even though we did get rain overnight the 2nd night), and it was especially fun hanging out with Stefani. There were only two other cars in the lot, so we were happy about that. We ended up only seeing just a few people the entire 3 days in the woods. They all had the same idea we did .try and get some seclusion during the week!
We only had one "boots off" water
crossing the first day, so the water was definitely lower than usual.
We had one more "boots
off" crossing immediately after leaving camp the next day when
we went on our day hike. We weren't sure how far we were going to hike
today, we were just heading up the Otter Creek Trail until we decided
to turn back around and head back to camp. We actually didn't get very
far because we spent so much time stopping and taking photographs of the
awesome waterworks. We only hiked up to the Moore's Run Falls, which was
only about 1.5 miles from our camp site. The Moore's
Run Falls were absolutely amazing, even with low water.
After we got back to our campsite we enjoyed a cold beer down by the water. We noticed some interesting features in the water so we got our water shoes back on, grabbed our cameras, and then we proceeded to walk in the water up Otter Creek until we came to the really big swimming hole. I'm not so sure this can be referred to as that anymore. There is so much debris in the water, it looks awfully dangerous to even think about swimming in that now. By the time we were done with that little extra trip, we were all ready to get back to camp and just relax the rest of the day. The next day was an uneventful hike back to the trailhead. As usual, we had a great trip to Otter Creek.
One thing a lot of people talk about when they discuss Otter Creek, is the damage the area sustained from Superstorm Sandy in 2012. The trail damage has been cleaned up and/or rerouted but it is still highly noticeable every time you look at the water. There are trees and debris laying in and across the water. Everywhere! We think this is causing the water to become more tannic. It seems a darker color than what we remember, but the taste is fine. The trail damage repairs took a while and was extremely hard work because all of the cuts and trail clearing were done with hand tools. The hand tools were required since no mechanized equipment is allowed to be used in areas formally designated under the Wilderness Act. Thanks to all who worked hard on this very difficult job.
And thanks to Stefani for joining us on
this hike. You need to do it more often!!!