12/4/27 Hike Reports
WEDNESDAY NO. W1201-713 Mar. 28 Bent Creek Experimental Forest *8:30 AM Hike 6, Drive 20, 800 ft. ascent, Rated B-C Lenny Bernstein, 828-236-0192, firstname.lastname@example.org P400 Ever wonder what kind of research they do at Bent Creek? This is your chance to find out. We'll start with a one-to-two hour outdoor tour led by a member of the Forest Service staff and then take a short hike from Hard Times Trailhead.
One of the goals of this hike was to find out about the research being carried out in the Bent Creek Experimental Forest. Julia Murphy gave us a two-hour tour of the forest, but not before we got our safety lecture and donned hard hats. The picture is the seven of us, attired to Forest Service standards.
Julia’s tour focused on the studies that have been carried out at Bent Creek on the impacts of clear cutting. Most of us recoil when we hear the term clear-cutting, because it conjures up a picture of a forest being converted into strip malls or housing developments. We also “know” that clear cutting causes erosion and other harm to the environment. Not true in the Southern Appalachians. Re-vegetation here is so fast that clear-cut hillsides are covered with growth in less than six months and fully forested after 20 years. However, clear cutting does change the composition of the forest, with yellow poplar dominating. Julia explained the various studies that have been conducted to evaluate ways to encourage oaks to grow after timber harvesting. Bottom line: it can be done, but it ain’t easy.
After Julia’s tour we took a six mile loop through the forest and NC Arboretum on the Hard Times and Bent Creek Trails. The spring flowers were glorious, and so were some of the summer ones. We saw fire pink, a flower which normally isn’t seen in our area until June. Who says the climate isn’t changing?
WEDNESDAY NO. W1202-352 Apr. 4 Jones Gap Trail/ Coldspring Loop *8:00 AM Hike 11, Drive 80, 1940 ft. ascent, Rated A-A Brenda Worley, 828-684-8656, cell: 828-606-7297, email@example.com *Form carpools at Westgate, and meet leader at Cracker Barrel, Exit 53 off I-26, at 8:30 AM. We'll hike up the Jones Gap and Tom Miller Trails past 2 waterfalls to US 276, then loop back via the Coldspring Trail. There are several creek crossing which are usually dry unless there has been heavy rain. NOTE: $2 per person parking fee at trailhead. Topos: Standingstone Mtn, Cleveland, Table Rock and Mountain Area Trail Map. WEDNESDAY NO. W1202-740 Apr. 11 Six Waterfalls near Brevard *8:00 AM Hike 5.8, Drive 100, Rated C-C Jack Fitzgerald, 828-685-2897, firstname.lastname@example.org WC100, P400 *Form carpools at Westgate, and meet leader at Bi-lo in Pisgah Forest at 8:30 AM. A number of short in-and-out hikes to waterfalls near Brevard: Maidenhair, Dill and Upper Dill, Courthouse, Bird Rock and Catheys Creek. Topos: Rosman, Sams Knob Normally I tend to shy away from hikes that involve driving from place to place, walking short distances, and basically spending more time in a car than walking. Since Jack Fitzgerald’s April 11 Wednesday outing involved this as well as 5 people crammed into one car and driving about 100 mile, it did seem a recipe for disaster. But I was intrigued because I had only seen one of these falls despite having lived in Brevard almost 50 years. The first falls, Maidenhair, (pictured below) was on private land. It probably hasn’t been seen by that many people since the owner had just recently built a trail and opened it to the public. It was indeed spectacular. The next falls were right off highway 215 in Balsam Grove. Birdrock Falls was also on private land but could be approached. It is close to the highway but cannot be seen from the highway. It too is a treasure. Next, we continued up 215 to the most remote place we visited that day. Upper and Lower Dill Falls were off an obscure FS road near the parkway. The lower falls was the most spectacular. The next stop was Courthouse Falls. This finally was one that was familiar but never tired of seeing. It is one of Transylvania’s nicest waterfalls. For our last waterfall stop we turned onto FS 475 to Gloucester Gap and turned right on FS 471 (Catheys Creek Road). Finding Catheys Creek Falls involved knowing exactly where to stop on a winding, precipitous, gravel road. Of course Waterfall Guru Jack did and soon we were winding our way down a rough trail until Catheys Creek Falls revealed itself. Afterwards we went to The Pisgah Tavern and had a cold beverage. All five of us agreed that it had been a great day. So next time you see a hike like this offered don’t be so quick to turn your nose up at it. You will be walking away from sights that will be etched in your mind forever. Thanks for the memories Jack Fitzgerald. Stuart English Maidenhair Falls Lower Dill Falls WEDNESDAY NO. W1202-653 Apr.18 Flat Creek Falls *8:00 AM Hike 7 Drive 125, 1300 ft. ascent, Rated B-B Sawako Jager, 828-687-2547, Baiko70@aol.com. WC100 *Form carpools at Westgate, and meet leader at Pisgah Forest Bi-Lo at 8:30 AM. Flat Creek Fall is an awesome 200 ft waterfall nestled in the remote area of Nantahala National Forest. This hike involves walking the unmaintained Old Trestle Path (FS #445), then some old logging roads, and a mild bushwhack. The last 300 ft consists of scrambling over boulders to the base of the falls. We will have lunch at the lower portion of the falls. There are a total of 6-8 wet stream crossings in each direction. Bring wading shoes. Topo: Big Ridge WEDNESDAY NO. W1202-603 Apr. 25 Big Ivy-Perkins, Laurel Gap and Bear Pen 8:30 AM Hike 5.5, Drive 55, 700 ft. ascent, Rated C-C Marcia Bromberg, 828-505-0471, email@example.com We will hike up the Laurel Gap Tr. and turn right and hike to Bear Pen Trail, then loop back. Flowers should be plentiful. Second meeting place: Ingles at Weaverville at 8:45 AM Topos:Mt Mitchell, Montreat ----------Half Day Hikes---------- HALF-DAY NO. H1102-346 Mar. 25 Folk Art Center to Haw Creek Overlook *12:30 PM Hike 5, Drive15, 850 ft. ascent, Rated C-C Nonmembers, call leader: Jim Ariail, 828-505-0443, firstname.lastname@example.org. *Only meeting place: Folk Art Center back parking lot. This favorite moderate hike on the Mountains-to-Sea Trail is rewarded with great views of the Haw Creek Valley. Topo: Oteen HALF-DAY NO. H1202-236 Apr. 1 Dupont Forest Fawn Lake P.L. #1 *12:30 PM Hike 6, Drive 95, 1000 ft. ascent, Rated C-B Nonmembers, call leader: Ashok Kudva, 828-698-7119, cell: 828-674-1374, Ashok.Kudva@att.net WC100 *Form carpools at Westgate, and meet leader at Bi-Lo in Pisgah Forest at 1:05 PM. This hike trims two miles from the all-day version of the hike, on well-laid trails over Mine Mountain and the Airstrip Trail, featuring Bridal Veil Falls and Fawn Lake. Seasonal view of mountain range and the site of old DuPont Manufacturing Plant. Topo: Standingstone Mountain, also DuPont Forest Trail Map. Fifteen hikers came on this hike on a lovely spring afternoon. During the scout on Wednesday, March 28, we discovered some trails were closed and I inquired the DuPont Forest Ranger’s office. A volunteer called me back Friday afternoon, March 30, after consulting with the Ranger and advised us not to use two trails. We avoided those trails during our hike. But, we were surprised to see the Airstrip Trail which found in excellent shape during our scout , was closed. The trail volunteer did not tell us this trail was closed for the weekend. We used Conservation Road, a gravel road, to access Bridal Veil Falls. We had a good hike. I reported to DuPont Forest Service Ranger about this incidence. He apologized for breakdown in communications. It is a valuable lesson for hike leaders to scout the hike close to the hike date regardless of familiarity of the trail and check with the Forest Service. + Photo By Ashok Kudva HALF-DAY NO. H1202-553 Apr. 8 Montreat Loop #4 1:00 PM Hike 5, Drive 40, 1000 ft. ascent, Rated C-B Nonmembers, call leader: Laura Frisbie, 828-337-5845, email@example.com This moderate hike ascends the Lookout Trail over Lookout Rock and then follows the East Ridge Trail to Sourwood Gap. Return will be by the Toll Road, the Buck Gap Trail, and the Old Trestle Road to the Lookout Trail. After a moderately steep ascent and a short rock scramble, we will follow the ridge trail over several knobs and then return with an easy walk along the Toll and Trestle Roads. Second meeting place: Ingles parking lot off Exit 64 of I-40 at 1:20 PM. Topo: Montreat HALF-DAY NO. H1202-325 Apr. 15 Rich Mountain Fire Tower *12:30 PM Hike 5.2, Drive 52, 1300 ft. ascent, Rated C-B Nonmembers, call leader: Russ and Heather Cooper, 828-484-9562, firstname.lastname@example.org LTC *Only meeting place: Rose's parking lot (opposite McDonald's) off Exit 19B of I-26 in Weaverville. This moderate in-and-out hike features great views from the Rich Mtn. Fire Tower near Hot Springs. We follow the AT and then a short side trail to the fire tower and return via the AT. Topo: Hot Springs; also ATC TN-NC map #4 HALF-DAY NO. H1202-173 Apr. 22 Courthouse Falls via Summey Cove 12:00 PM Hike 5.4, Drive 110, 1150 ft. ascent, Rated C-B Nonmembers, call leader: Stuart English, 828-883-2447, email@example.com P400 *Form carpools at Westgate, and meet hike leader at Pisgah Forest Bi-Lo at 12:35 PM. Hike starts at the Summey Cove trailhead on NC 215 above Balsam Grove and follows this trail 2.2 miles to its end at FS 140, with a side trip down and back to Courthouse Falls. Continue for 3.1 miles on FS 140 to its termination at NC 215. Short car shuttle. Topos: Sam Knob, Lake Toxaway; also NatGeo map #780 The weather was iffy for the day of this hike. As the hike drew nearer, reports were better. A cold front coming in seemed to reduce the chance of thunder storms. So it seemed promising when 11 hikers met to do this hike that CMC hasn’t done in years. Summey Cove is the only mapped trail south of the BRP off of highway 215 and leads to beautiful Courthouse Falls. We did a car shuttle because we were going to walk back by the FS road that goes to the falls after taking the trail there. The most dramatic part of the hike turned out to be when all 11 of us crammed into Greg Goodman’s van to drive the last mile to the trail head. We then climbed steeply to the top of a ridge and descended steeply into Summey Cove. At one point we felt rain drops. A couple of hikers put on their rain gear and that was all it took. No more rain that day. We stopped at the falls for our snack break and then walked back by the road to our cars. Of course we could have driven to the falls, but we are hiking club and not a driving club. I must say it was great to see two old friends, Andres Sarre from Mexico City and Vance Mann, one our group to hike the Inca trail 4 years ago. A serendipitously great day. Stuart ----------Camporee Hikes---------- Friday - Sunday NO. A1202-tbd Apr. 13, 14, & 15 Mountain Treasures Camporee #1 Ted Snyder, 864-638-3686, firstname.lastname@example.org and Jim Reel, 828-738-0751, email@example.com Come to the first of a series of weekend camporees, designed to feature a cluster of Mountain Treasures. Eight different hikes have been scheduled over the weekend. For details of each hike and the Mountain Treasures, go to the CMC website and look under “hiking” for “hiking – camporee”. The web site gives driving directions, plans for a group barbecue, and hike descriptions. Any questions should be referred to Ted or Jim. Approximately 21 persons took part in the Mortimer Camporee. We had one camper from Durham and one from Charlotte. The weather was favorable. In the mornings it was down in the low 50s. By min-day the temperature was back up in the mid seventies. Clear and sunny skies favored us both days. We ran seven of the eight advertised hikes. An additional short hike was organized on an impromptu basis. It was headed for the carbonated water falls. As of the date of this report, I have not heard whether it was successful. Spring flowers were seen in abundance. Included among the sightings was the rare Fringed Polygala; “Gay Wings:” Polygala paucifolia. It is at the southern limit of its range in western North Carolina. These were seen in abundance on two of the trips. Also reported were many sightings of Crested Dwarf Iris, and the less common Dwarf Iris; Showy Orchis; Bluets; Foam Flower; Mayapple; Wake Robin (Trillium erectum); Solomon’s Seal; False Solomon’s Seal; Flowering Dogwood; Rhododendron catawbiense; and many varieties of violets. I thought I hear mention of Yellow Ladies’ Slippers. Nearly every trip had its waterfall or waterfalls. Nearly every trip had its high altitude views from rocky eminences. May wet stream crossings were provided. Some voluntarily went swimming in the many, many deep water holes. Thanks to Jim Reel we were able to fit most of the campers into “the Terrace” suite of camping sites in the newly truncated Mortimer Campground. Jim arrived Thursday evening and laid claim to our minimum number of tent spots. He was still there Friday, holding down space for us as we arrived. This took a great amount of pre-planning and courage. One camper tended the fire. Saturday night we had the usual Bar-B-Que that is a feature of camporees. In addition to the mainstay we had baked beans, slaw, potato salad, two kinds of pickles, marinated onions, beets, iced tea, grapes for grazers, hot water for tea and coffee, and Oreos for dessert. All the meat and beans were consumed. A little of the other stuff was remaindered. Thanks to the really great help of several campers, the meal was organized, the line laid out in logical progression, everything fitted onto one table, and the campers processed through with the least fuss I have experienced. We had a fleet of really experienced hike leaders, and they took us everywhere that anyone could want to go. A great vote of thanks is due Jim Reel, to the hike leaders, the Bar-B-Que commissionaire, the people who helped with the meal, and the fire tender. This camporee was one slick operation. Ted. 16 April 2012.
UPPER CREEK MOUNTAIN TREASURES HIKE # 9
April 14 2012
The day dawned clear. About departure time, low clouds had moved in. The shuttle for this trip takes about 1 ½ hours, regardless of the direction. We left the Mortimer Campground in two cars about 9:30 a.m. After dropping the getaway car we reached the trailhead on Upper Creek just before 11:00 a.m. Started out at 11:00 a.m. crossing the big berms and then alongside Upper Creek for about a mile on an old railroad grade. Then we hit the graded trail and began the steep ascent up the side of the Upper Creek gorge. We did not have time this day to descend to the waterfall. Crossing a high ridge, we descended on switchbacks to Upper Creek. One person fell in as we made the crossing. Then we strolled upstream, passing many deep swimming spots. Along here viewed many Gay Wings in bloom, the rare Polygala paucifolia. Our trail joined the MST and soon reached the Saurian and Tortoise where we made an easy dry crossing. The sun came out. It was clear and sunny and warm for the rest of the day. Our trail then ascended on an old railroad bed, crossing Burnthouse Branch. The railroad bed ended at a gated Forest Service System Road. Turning uphill on it we ascended to the gap between Chestnut Mountain and Sugar Knob. Here we left the main road and entered the Harper Creek WSA, and descended across the head of Raider Camp Creek. Still on the MST we crossed a low gap into the South Harper Creek watershed, and walked downhill on an old roadbed. We reached a side trail blazed with blue bullets, and it took us to the overlook for S. Harper Creek Falls, one of the more spectacular in this region. After enjoying this waterfall we descended on an unmarked trail to S. Harper Creek, and on to the junction with Trail No. 158. Turning left we ascended steeply out of the river valley. Then we passed a view of Kawana, and had an easy, comparatively level walk along a ridge to our shuttle car. Total elapsed time, including lunch, was five hours, start to finish. Four hikers made this trip.
Beacon Heights to Roseborough
April 14 2012
This hike, even though it attracted only two other hikers, was the culmination of a hiking odyssey that began last October when a group of us plunged into the rhododendron to explore the hike, but were quickly turned backed by the Blair Witch Project feeling caused by the lack of any visible route. We quickly made plans to cover essentially the same ground but with a much more pleasant route along the MST. After that I did return to hike, flag and hack my along the original route up Webb Creek and over a low divide to Major Branch, which involved about 2 miles of vigorous bushwacking. But reason prevailed and the hike schedulers chose to plan the hike on the MST. this time around. My two participants wisely chose to begin the hike on the uphill end, so we had a moderate hike of 7 miles with about 2,000 of elevation loss and no significant gain. We were rewarded with awesome views at Beacon Heights and with cool cloudy weather that gradually became warm and sunny. This is a very scenic section of the MST and unlike much of the rest of the route in our area, its is out of earshot of the Harleys on the Parkway.
LOST COVE CREEK AND TIMBER RIDGE
MOUNTAIN TREASURES HIKE # 13 April 15 2012
On a clear and sunny morning five hikers stumbled out to tackle this wet foot escapade. Our route led down Gragg Prong on the MST. We walked out on numerous sloping rocks for views of cascades as we dropped down this giant rock sluice. A major feature was the unnamed waterfall about halfway down. Gragg Prong ended at its confluence with Lost Cove Creek in a huge pond, of which one duck was in possession. The trail then turned up Lost Cove Creek. Shortly we arrived at Hunt-Fish Falls. Here we lunched on the hanging out rocks lining the swimming hole at the foot of the falls. There were a few people at this ever popular spot. After lunch we left the MST and waded the creek above the falls. Then we continued on the bed of an old logging railroad grade. At an unmarked location we engaged in a bit of bushwhacking to visit the waterfall on Little Lost Cove Creek. We were greeted by a blast of cold air as from an air conditioner. Here were some large Wake Robin Trillium in bloom. Making our last creek crossing we took the trail up multiple switchbacks to a gap just west of the top of Bee Mountain. As we started up toward the summit, we noticed what appeared to be new trail construction on the right. An opening had been brushed out, but a tread had not been graded. We took the usual gully route, however, and soon reached the top of Bee Mountain, the highest point on the trip. From Bee Mtn. we descended on Timber Ridge, on the trail of that name, to a junction. Turning left, we took a delightful trail through a high valley and on to the point from which we had started in the morning. There are ten wet crossings on his hike, one of which everyone had to wade. The others had stepping stones of a sort, but most of them were covered with one to three inches of water. This trip was in the Lost Cove Wilderness Study Area, and it is of high wilderness quality. The hike took six hours to complete, but that included a swimming stop and inspection of some good places to hang out, and a little bushwhacking to the one waterfall off-trail. The leader made the same hike in4 ½ hours when he scouted the trip.
Photos by Sawako Jager
----------All Day Weekend----------
SATURDAY NO. A1201-424 March 31 *8:30 AM
Hike 9, Drive 80, 2860 ft. ascent, Rated A-AA
Hospital Rock to Pretty Place and Falls Creek
*Form carpools at Westgate; Hendersonville hikers meet at NE corner of Cracker Barrel parking lot at exit 53 of I-26 at 9:00 AM, and everyone meet leader at Jones Gap State Park parking lot at 9:15 AM. This challenging hike in Jones Gap State Park in S.C. will begin by hiking up the Hospital Rock Trail. At lunchtime, we’ll take in the great view from Pretty Place, and return via the Falls Creek Trail past beautiful Falls Creek waterfall. Short car shuttle. $2 fee for park entry. Topos: Cleveland, Standingstone Mtn.; also Mountain Bridge Wilderness Area map
SUNDAY NO. A1202-107 Apr. 1 Big Cataloochee Mtn. 8:00 AM (strenuous) Hike 11, Drive 130, 3200 ft. ascent, Rated A-AA John Sanders, cell: 828-707-6377, firstname.lastname@example.org SB6K, 900M This is a strenuous hike. From the Beech Gap Trailhead on Straight Fork Road, we will make a steep climb to the intersection of the Balsam Mountain Trail and continue on to the Laurel Gap trail shelter. From the shelter, we will hike a short distance along the Mount Sterling Ridge Trail before leaving the trail and bushwhacking (very steep) our way to the summit of Big Cataloochee Mountain. We return by the same route. Additional meeting places: Maggie Valley P. O., but contact leader first, and parking lot of Oconaluftee Visitor Center at 9:00 AM. Topo: Luftee Knob, Cove Creek Gap, Waterville; also NatGeo map #317. Eight hikers made the climb to the summit of Big Cataloochee Mountain (6,155 feet). The bushwhack portion of the hike turned out to be as strenuous as advertised, but all made it to the top. Except for a brief storm cloud that came up after climbing down from the summit, the weather was nice. A nice group dinner at Tomato following the hike capped a great day. SUNDAY NO. A1202-582 Apr. 1 Gauging Station – Pink Beds loop 8:30 AM (moderate) Hike 9, Drive 85, 900 ft. ascent, Rated B-C Danny Bernstein, 828-236-0192, email@example.com P400 This will be a pleasant loop from the gauging station, covering parts of the S. Mills River, Buckhorn Gap, Black Mtn., Barnett Branch and Pink Beds Loop trails. Early spring wildflowers should be in abundance. Second meeting place: Pisgah Forest Bi-Lo at 9:00 AM. Topos: Shining Rock; Pisgah Forest; also NatGeo. map #780
Four CMC hikes were offered on April's Fool weekend. Seven members chose to do the Gauging Station loop in Pisgah. As promised the flowers were magnificent. We sat facing Looking Glass Rock at lunchtime. A new CMC member came from the Triangle to hike. And Carroll came on his first full-day hike, now that his ankle has healed. Good to see you back, Carroll.
Photos and report by Danny Bernstein
SUNDAY NO. A1202-417 Apr. 8 Butter Gap, Long Branch, ALT, Horse Cove Loop 8:00 AM Hike 13, Drive 72, 3000 ft. ascent, Rated AA-AA Carroll Koepplinger, 828-667-0723, firstname.lastname@example.org P400 Highlights of this low-altitude hike include the McCall Family cemetery and good views from Rich and Chestnut Mtns. and from the Art Loeb Trail. Second meeting place: Fish Hatchery at 8:45 AM. Topo: Shining Rock; also NatGeo. Map #780 Seven hikers left the Fish Hatchery at 9:00 AM in nice cool sunny weather. Within the first mile outer garments came off as the sun rose along with the temperature. We made a stop and break at the McCall cemetery. We then continued on the Long Branch trail to FS 475 and on to the Art Loeb trail. After a pleasant lunch break we made the short climb to Chestnut Mt. Continuing on in pleasant sunny and not to warm temps to the Butter Gap junction where one of the hikers, due to a developing knee issue returned to the Fish Hatchery. We took a well deserved rest break after climbing up below Cedar Rock to the ridge. We arrived back at the Fish Hatchery at 5:00 PM. We set a moderate pace due to the nice weather and the fact that the hike leader has recently recovered from a fractured ankle. Some of the flowers observed were: various violets, silver bells, white trillium, iris, foam flower, jack-in-the- pulpit, pink lady slippers, may apple, flame azalea, flame pink along with others we were unable to identify. After the hike we all enjoyed a delightful dinner at Sora’s café. SUNDAY NO. A1202-164 Apr. 22 Hawkbill Flower Hike 8:00 AM Hike 8.4, Drive 54, 2870 ft. ascent, Rated B-AA Carroll Koepplinger, 828-667-0723, CarrolKoepp@bellsouth.net LTC This great wildflower hike follows a rough trail up alongside Hawkbill Creek to the top of the cove, then a very steep 400 ft bushwhack up to Hawkbill Rock. Then hike along the ridge line to site of Little Snowball Tower and follow old roads and trails down to the trailhead. The wildflowers and ramps have been spectacular every time CMC has done this hike. Topo: Craggy pinnacle Eleven started the adventure at 8:55 am in somewhat iffy weather. After a pleasant, moderate but steady uphill we reached the point of the 400ft. Bushwack and pondered which looked the best way to climb(there is no easy way). One hiker found a way which was somewhat easier but added about .2 mi. to the bushwack. After reaching Hawksbill Rock (at which point another CMC member who didn't get up in time to get to the meeting place) hiked in from Craggy Gardens and met us as we were reaching the trail. After a foggy & misty lunch break,on the rock outcrop where the views were limited, we proceeded to the top of Little Snowball. We returned to the trail head at 4:15pm. Even thou rain threatened occasionaly we never had more than a few sprinkles. The sun started coming out right after we had left the trailhead. We stopped at the Dillingham historic area to view the restored Little Snowball Fire Tower. After arriving back most of the hikers enjoyed dinner together at Tomatoes resturant. We viewed a total of 57 flowers (the record is 60) including 2 Showy Orchis a couple of Jack in the Pulpit and the rather rare (for this area) Indian Paintbrush. By the way, the ramps were very tasty!!