I'd been wanting to for a couple of months, and finally yesterday I was able to get out to explore a rather secluded wooded area here in Jefferson County. I was hoping to find some old house or building sites for metal detecting, but I also really just wanted to hike in the woods.
The woods are large enough that I had to hurry to get to my goal (a structure I could see in satellite photos, on a ridge far from the road) and back to the car in three hours. I only saw a fraction of the area. There was no real danger of getting lost, since I knew from maps what I would run into in any direction, and there's a creek that runs through the middle that leads right back to the road near my car. However, once in the woods, it was hard to figure out exactly where I was or where I was in relation to the structure I was looking for.
I finally found it--I'll probably post a photo of it later--and there wasn't much to it. It looked like an unfinished building foundation, post-1970. I think there are other very old building foundations or cellar holes nearby, but I didn't spot them; by the time I got to the area, I was getting tired and I knew I had to turn around to head back.
I used trails as much as I could, but I also headed directly though the woods every once in a while. There were ATV trails as well as poorly defined trails that looked like there were made more by deer than humans. The edges of the woodland were a tangle of weeds and thorns that were a little hard to navigate, but once I got a little farther in the understory was open and easy to traverse. After the heavy rains of last week, the spring-fed stream that ran through the middle was noisy and pretty, but still small enough to hop across (there were a few pools that looked like they might even be big enough to hold catchable fish, although I don't know if the water level stays high enough.
There were deer hoof prints everywhere I looked. A few sandhill cranes flew over while I was out, but I never saw another human.