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. . . as easy as falling off a rock!

Seen from the air, Cockpit Country offers a dramatic landscape of tall conical hills and star-shaped or small rounded bottomlands (glades), much like an upside-down egg carton.

Parachute or hike in and the rugged topography and romantic, lush forest quickly embrace you with warm, humid tendrils . . .

Until you realize, crikey, it feels like I'm being roasted in a sauna, the mosquitoes are hell, I'm sweating like a pig, I'd better turn back . . . Holy Cow . . . this isn't the way I hiked in; how could I have used the wrong saddle-corridor; I'm sure I want to head north to Windsor, ack, how do I descend this cliff without plummeting to my death when the fissured limestone gives way . . .

Whether you're a casual hiker or hard-core orienteering enthusiast, polygonal cockpit karst presents a truly challenging terrain. The same applies to the subterranean world, which has the added risk that you could find yourself in a section of cave which you thought was "vadose" (i.e., above the water table) only to discover that it becomes "phreatic-like" (below the water table) during heavy rains!

Audio © Sherwood Schwartz and George Wyle;
performed by The Wellingtons

A few of us have managed to survive our hubristic youth and near-nemesis fate with Cockpit Country and thought it would be wise to share our experiences so no one repeats them (ha ha - are you youngsters listening?!? - your mucho-expensive GPS receiver with external antenna, smartphone SatNav etc. won't save you when you lose the triangulation lock on satellites because you're in a cockpit glade or under a really dense forest canopy OR your batteries died OR torrential rains short-circuited your phone AND there's no Digicel or FLOW mobile signals AND it gets really dark at night . . . trust us, an old-school compass [with declination set correctly!] can be your best friend.)

So . . . just sit right back on the verandah, pop open your favourite beverage, and laugh with the survivors of their slightly-more-than-3-hour-tour as we say "whew, I'll admit I was lucky." Thanks also to Andrew and Karl for letting us share their stories.   Please email us if you have a Gilligan-like story to add to this page.

And remember:   Always Use A Knowledgeable Guide When You Hike In Cockpit Country!

  • Andrew & friends' hike on the Windsor-to-Troy Trail
  • Karl & friends' exploration of Windsor Cave and above-ground trek on who-knows-which-trail
  • Susan's "I'm not lost, it just got dark" amble off Guthrie Trail during her parrot research (Page Under Construction...stay tuned)