This morning we hit the trail again about 9:30. We started the hike at the picnic area and had about a 1 mile hike to the start of the Torreya Challenge. The Challenge is a 5-mile trek trek along ridges as well us down and up deep ravines.
The first couple of miles seemed fairly calm with only one real descent and climb back to the top. Don’t get me wrong. It certainly got the heart pumping. I just wasn’t expecting to have as much level hiking as we did.
We wanted to explore like we did the Rock Bluff Loop Trail and headed out to the Torreya Challenge Primitive Camp. There were four areas designated by fire rings but no formal indication of where one site ended and the other began. Down a shallow ravine there appeared to be a small amount of water but there are many other flowing water sources along the hike that I would fill up before turning off the main trail. This was the largest of the three primitive sites and would be good for big groups. Unfortunately the others have more to offer in terms of scenery and other things to do.
We stopped just before Mile 4 and a nice bridge over yet another well-flowing stream and had lunch. After a quick bite it was back to the trail. Unlike the Rock Bluff Loop Trail there aren’t a lot of options for the Challenge hike so we had a pretty fixed plan.
At the end of the day we’d covered between 8 and 9 miles. I’ll have to do some tests to figure out for sure. The Every Trail app says 8.2. My Garmin 60 CsX says 9. Based on the vertical ups and downs listed here at over 9000′ I’m going to go with the Garmin.
I really didn’t think the Challenge was the challenge I was expecting. I will have to admit, however, that the final climb out of the Challenge to get back to the main trail kicked our rears. So for that I’ll give it 5 stars.
If you’re looking for terrain that appears very reminiscent of the North Carolina section of the Appalachian Trail I highly recommend Torreya State Park. Plan on several days, though, to explore all the park as to offer.
Take the virtual hike and download the GPX at everytrail.com.