Upon leaving Little River Trail and starting 2.4-mi one-way Cucumber Gap Trail, the trail immediately went from very wide and gravel, to very narrow (almost single-track) and dirt with a lot of tree roots. The other major difference is that Cucumber Gap climbed at a much faster rate. It was still only approximately 400-ft of climb, but still Mom and I both agreed that we were glad we had warmed up via the Little River Trail first.
We passed about 10 other hikers heading in the other direction – a much less populated hike than Little River Trail. It made us more conscious of every little rustle in the woods, but at no point were we ever really concerned about bears or other large predators. Heading away from the river also caused us to start peeling off layers since we no longer had the cool breeze floating over the water, but it wasn’t hot by any means.
Finally, the trail began to descend, and after one final mile, we reached the final junction of the day – the connection to Jake’s Creek Trail.
I’m not going to write a separate post for the jaunt from Jake’s Creek Trail back to the parking lot since it was only a 0.75-mi winding gravel road. However, I will mention one moment of interest that happened: So despite being one of the klutziest people of all time, I had gone 4 days of hiking/trail running without any injury, trip, fall, or scrape. Yet somehow, less than a quarter of a mile from the car, I completely bit it and went sliding down the gravel. Thankfully although my knee and shin were scraped up, nothing was actually injured (i.e. sprained, broken, or fractured), so after washing the gravel and dirt off, we continued along. The best part is that we had just passed a sign for trail closure because of aggressive bear activity, so Mom posted a picture of that sign along with a picture of my knee on Facebook. Most people got the joke, but there were a few who were quite concerned until we informed them otherwise (lol!).