March 30, 2016.
After a short stop at the Freeland Loop, I decided to continue on Freeland road until it turned into the gravel road that leads you past a few more refuge trails. These were all under construction when I drove past, but I’m sure they’re finished by now. You’ll come to a gate and a parking lot off to the right just before the road runs out. Go around the gate and follow the old forest road around some large vernal pools and to a drier, easy to follow path.
You’ll pass a map of Dolly Sods as you enter the wilderness area’s boundary. The beginning of the trail is very narrow and surrounded on both sides by dense, tall spruce trees. There’s not much of a grade to the trail.After passing over a small stream, the trail does take a turn for the wetter- be prepared for soggy feet. I was wearing Chacos and it was relatively warm for March, so it wasn’t a big deal – but soggy boots would have been no fun because only a few minutes later, I realized my footwear mistake….
I reached the intersection of the Rocky Ridge Trail, Stone Coal trails, and the ski area before deciding to turn around – as the theme is in the spring and winter, I was running out of daylight.