HOLY SHIT! No apologies for the language. Holy shit!
That was probably the most physically demanding thing I've done in 20 years. It ended up being nearly a mile shorter than the 7.5 miles I'd intended to hike on Friday, so the round trip was about 13.6 miles, but still not bad.
It was very much a tale of two halves. One half was gentle and rolling and not too difficult. The second half was the complete opposite. I've posted a full description elsewhere on this blog (http://blog.ergoob.org/p/hiking-bear-trap-canyon-near-norris-mt.html) with a couple of photos and a link to an online album with more pictures.
In the second half, the way was covered with fallen trees and branches, rock slides (and we're talking some VERY large rocks), and all kinds of different undergrowth and shrubbery (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=69iB-xy0u4A). The path was very narrow in places. So narrow, in fact, in some places that a small slip would have consigned you to the bottom of the ravine. It's a good job it hadn't been raining recently, else it would have been too slippery and dangerous (not that it wasn't already dangerous enough!) The other thing that made it difficult was the constantly changing elevation. This is not something you'd undertake lightly, or with the wrong equipment, or if you were in any way lacking in physical fitness and stamina.
You can read the rest of the account at the aforementioned page: http://blog.ergoob.org/p/hiking-bear-trap-canyon-near-norris-mt.html.
I was so sore and tired afterwards that I sat down at a bench/table at the trailhead and didn't move for an hour. If I could have slept there, I would have (not having slept much the night before).
I was really glad for the opportunity to soak in the Hot Springs at Norris for a couple of hours afterwards.
Now that I've made it out of there alive and I survived, I'm glad I did it. At the time, I was cursing and swearing a few times. I wouldn't do it again unless the conditions were absolutely perfect: good gear, good weather, the right time of year to avoid the snakes, a well-honed body to cope with the physical demands, etc. In short, those circumstances are unlikely to all be present (for me) at the same time in a very long time.