Hike Report: White Candle Loop – Pine Mountain Trail
By Sanna Moravek
It started out as a very cold Janurary morning – as I got up early to defrost the thick layer of ice that had formed on the Basecamp Bus windshield. By the time I had the bus loaded with our day hike packs and snacks (and that morning cup of coffee) the windshield was clear and the bus warm and toasty!
We met early – at 8:00 am, loaded the bus with eager hikers and headed up to the Pine Mountain Trail, entering in the park from the far side near Warm Springs. The large parking area at the TV Tower was closed for repairs, so we went to next closest parking area to the White Candle Trail at Rocky Point, unloaded the bus and headed out.
It was still chilly outside, as hats, gloves and jackets kept us warm until our bodies started to naturally warm up from the movement of hiking. From the Rocky Point Parking Lot we had to head east on the Beaver Pond Trail, which started on the south side of the park. We quickly hit the first road crossing the headed further down the trail.
Just after crossing the road, we passed through an area of smaller pines and brush, allowing the warm morning sunshine to reach our rosy cheeks. The trail meandered through the pines then dipped back into the barren canopy brining us down to the “Beaver Ponds”. Here we reached the trail intersection of the Beaver Pond Trail and the White Candle Trail. This spot gave us a great opportunity for our younger hikers to check our map and understand how to figure out where we were at, and what direction to go!
After reaching this intersection, we started a small climb uphill and headed back towards the road, where we crossed again to the south side of FDR State Park. This area of trail is more exposed and rocky, but also provides beautiful sweeping views of the valley below from Odie Overlook.
Our group continued on the White Candle Trail, enjoying the views, each others company, and getting to know each other – as this was a first group hike for some. The 4 mile White Candle Loop seemed to go too quickly – as before we knew it, the Basecamp Bus was back in view. We loaded up and headed out – as it is only a short 45 minute drive back to Columbus
Overall this is a great hike for beginners and adventures alike. Mild terrain, easy to read signage and blazes make navigating this section fun for all. Of course we always recommend having a map, water and snacks with you on all hikes! To find out more about FDR State Park visit : https://gastateparks.org/FDRoosevelt
Photos by http://www.cultivatingsocial.com