Eira Tansey

Sheltowee Trace: Section 7 – Elisha Branch Road to Heidelberg

Dates: July 16-17, 2016
Weather: Very hot and clear
Section: Elisha Branch Road at US-421 (near McKee, Kentucky) to Heidelberg, Kentucky (just across the blue bridge)
Miles: Saturday – 18.73 miles — Gaia GPS, official STA map — just under 17 miles;
Sunday – 12.92 miles — Gaia GPS, official STA map — just under 12 miles. Scroll to bottom to download GPX tracks for your GPS device or app. The miles displayed in the wordpress plugin are different than what the Gaia app says, which is what I list in this top section. You can also visit my Sheltowee Trace folder on GaiaGPS.

This was a really straightforward hike — and since I’m trying to hurry up and get this posted before packing up for a conference, it’s going to be a pretty brief post!

I first got interested in the Sheltowee after my friend Claire hiked it last year. When I hung out with her last winter to grill her all about the hike, she told me at some point heading out to the monthly hike becomes semi-routine and not quite as big of a deal as it is during the first few months. I’ve found this to be the case by July — it’s kind of nice in a way. I don’t get worked up about my gear selection the way I did back in the first few months, I just get it together and don’t overthink it.

Saturday highlights:
The trail was pretty well-blazed and easy to navigate. The trail still had plenty of mudholes, but nowhere as bad as Section 6. Not too many tree blow downs. On the whole, it was pretty easy, but the heat was bad enough I had to stop several times in order to rest.

Heidelberg Lock, early morning

Resurgence Cave Creek "Spa"

Resurgence Cave Creek

Mess O' Roots

Succulents on a rock

Rock Wall

We got into camp with several hours to go until sunset, and while hanging around, I found tons of ticks crawling around. Yuck. Luckily managed to brush most of them off. My appetite still disappears almost entirely in the heat.

Ale8, the Official State Beverage of Kentucky

Hikers Relaxing After a Long Hot Day

Home Sweet Home!

Sunday highlights:
Some rowdy dogs started following and yapping at me shortly after leaving camp. Luckily Steve had warned us, and I had my poles ready in case of trouble. I dropped my voice into the lowest possible register and yelled GO HOME!!! and luckily got through the stretch without issue.

Embry Curry marker

Morning Glory

Sunday’s section wasn’t as well-blazed, and the trail got a little hard to find in some spots.

Campsite where the trail gets faint


Sometimes the best guidance is at your feet

Luckily I never lost it entirely, and soon enough it was on to the long, hot, and brutal road walk. At least with road walking you can sort of go on auto-pilot, and it was a pretty quiet stretch of road until you hit the left turn on KY 399 to Heidelberg. I’ve previewed the map for August’s section — a lot of roadwalking on a somewhat busy stretch. Let’s hope we hit the road early enough to get the worst over with early!

Stop Sign as Target Practice

Kentucky 399

Heidelberg Bridge

Heidelberg lock, afternoon

I got back to the car, and found several more ticks had crawled underneath my socks. Picked them off, and hit the road back to Cincinnati. Until next time…

Saturday track:

Total distance: 19.99 mi

Sunday track:

Total distance: 13.11 mi

Categorised as: outside

One Comment

  1. David Baird says:

    Looks like a good setup for Saturday night. I can see that you are better each month on your setup😉