Friday Freebie!

Let’s have a little Friday Freebie fun! On Friday, September 19th, 2014, the price of the Kindle version of Star Trails Navajo on Amazon.com will be $0.00!

FridayFreebieFall is approaching, with cooler temperatures and less humidity. The moon is approaching its New phase and will be below the horizon for the first part of the night (for those of us on the East coast). All of these factors should make for better star viewing conditions this weekend.

If you have a a Kindle device, or a smartphone or tablet with the free Kindle app, claim a free copy of Star Trails Navajo this Friday and use it to discover a new way to see the stars – through Navajo star stories!

Spreading the stars on Father Sky.

Spreading the stars on Father Sky.

Chart showing location of the Revolving Male star figure.

Chart showing location of the Revolving Male star figure.

If you find Star Trails Navajo the least bit interesting, leaving a comment or two on the book’s Amazon page and on the product page on this website would be greatly appreciated!

Thanks for your support!

Please share this!

Exploring the New Elevation Profiles

Hot off the press, the Second Edition of the Uwharrie Lakes Region Trail Guide features a new format for the elevation profiles. Each trail and trip in the guide has its own detailed graph to help you visualize the elevation changes and important locations along the length of the route.

new_profile_formatThe previous edition of the guide contained elevation profiles that were a simple plot of elevation vs distance. A mileage table with text descriptions for key spots along the route was shown above the profiles.

The new elevation profiles are a mash-up of the plots and the mileage tables. Each profile starts as a simple plot of elevation vs distance, and then the text descriptions are laid on top of them. The text descriptions are placed on the plot at the appropriate mileage point.

One advantage of this new design is that the profile graph can now be enlarged to fill the entire page, making it larger and easier to see. The descriptions are accurately placed along the route, so you can easily see if your next turn is close by or much further down the trail.

Each profile graph for trails or trips in the same area shares the same elevation scale so you can easily see relative elevation differences between trails. For example, all of the profiles for Morrow Mountain State Park have an elevation range of 200 feet to 1,100 feet. The Three Rivers Trail appears low on its graph, which is logical since it starts near the boat ramp on Lake Tillery. The Morrow Mountain Loop Trail appears high on its graph, since it circles the summit of Morrow Mountain.

The text descriptions for key spots include the mileage along the trail and the actual elevation in feet. Simple codes in the description indicate if the spot is an intersection, a stream crossing, a water source, and/or a campsite. The names of intersecting trails are also given. A legend for these codes is on the side of each profile, along with GPS coordinates (both Lat/Long and UTM) for the “start” of the trail (in case you need help getting back!)

Each profile page contains a wealth of information for the trail visitor. The profiles might seem a little confusing at first glance, but once you learn how to read them, you will appreciate how much helpful information one page can give you! If you don’t have a copy of the new Uwharrie Lakes Region Trail Guide, order one today!

Please share this!

What’s in the new Uwharrie Trail Guide?

What’s in the new Uwharrie Lakes Region Trail Guide? With over 200 more pages than the first edition, the second edition includes more trail areas as well as a number of new trails. Key features such as trail history notes, detailed maps, elevation profile and mileage charts, and maps/profiles for popular trips using multiple trails can still be found inside.

ulrtg2014secondeditioncoversmThe largest set of “new” trails are the equestrian trails in the Badin Lake Area. Many of these trails existed in a “renegade” fashion at the time the first edition was published, but they are now signed and better maintained.

Significant progress has been made in protecting access to the full historic length of the Uwharrie Trail and making it available to hikers again. If you thought the Uwharrie Trail was just 20 miles long, this guide can enlighten you. Details are included for the full route that is nearly twice that long!

Several other areas with enough trail for a nice half-day of hiking are now included, such as Albemarle City Lake Park, Boone’s Cave Park, and the NC Zoological Park.

A PDF of the table of contents pages is available, and the chapters are listed below.

Chapters:

Introduction 11

Finding the Uwharrie Lakes Region 14

How To Use This Guidebook 18

Responsible Use Guidelines 24

Safety and Security Concerns 30

Albemarle City Lake Park 33

  • Albemarle City Lake Park Trails 36

Badin Lake Recreation Area 46

  • Badin Lake Hiking Trails 55
  • Badin Lake Equestrian Trails 61
  • Badin Lake Equestrian Trips 134
  • Badin Lake OHV Trails 148
  • Badin Lake OHV Trips 180
  • Badin Lake Bike Trips 192

Birkhead Mountains Wilderness Area 203

  • Birkhead Mountains Wilderness Trails 208
  • Birkhead Mountains Wilderness Area Trips 230

Boone’s Cave Park 246

  • Boone’s Cave Park Trails 250
  • Boone’s Cave Park Trips 274

Denson’s Creek Area 282

  • Denson’s Creek Area Trails 285
  • Denson’s Creek Area Trips 296

Morris Mountain Area 304

  • Morris Mountain Area Trails 309
  • Morris Mountain Area Trips 323

Morrow Mountain State Park 330

  • Morrow Mountain State Park Trails 337
  • Morrow Mountain State Park Trips 370

NC Zoological Park 384

  • NC Zoo Park Trails 388

Uwharrie Trail 400

  • Uwharrie Trail Sections 408

Wood Run Area 448

  • Wood Run Area Trails 454
  • Wood Run Area Trips 482

Volunteer Opportunities 504

Regional Information 510

Quick Reference Tables 513

Index 518

A PDF of the table of contents pages is also available.

If you don’t have a copy of the new edition of the Uwharrie Lakes Region Trail Guide yet, you can order your copy now!

Please share this!

Second Edition Copies Are Here!

Copies of the Second Edition of the Uwharrie Lakes Region Trail Guide have finally arrived!

The first edition took about five years to complete from start to having copies in hand. The second edition took closer to seven years, so you can imagine how happy I am to finally see a stack of these books sitting in front of me!

Now it’s your turn to see this updated and expanded version! Order your own signed copy through my website [ordering details].

ULRTG Ed2

Please share this!

Oak City Bike Overnight

A friend recently alerted me to an overnight bike trip being organized by a local independent bike shop. We’ve both been interested in expanding our camping skills to include travel by bicycle. He was unable to go, but I seized the opportunity to end my procrastination and get an S24O under my belt.

My gear for backpack camping has finally evolved down to a load of under 30 pounds. Key items include a Six Moon Designs Lunar Solo tent, an REI Radiant 40 degree down bag, an REI Flash insulated air mattress, a Jetboil stove, a Cascade Designs chair kit with short Ridgerest pad, a couple of small dry bags of clothes, mug/bowl/utensils, and a bag of food. A few other small items like a headlamp, toilet kit, sunscreen, etc round out my kit.

The gear easily fit into a full set of Ortlieb Front and Rear Roller panniers on the Novara Safari touring bike I bought last year. I rode two supported tours of 400+ miles on this bike, but I had only ridden it fully loaded in my daydreams. It was time to change that!

IMG_2497-1024x768

Oak City Cycling Project takes it’s name from the city of Raleigh, commonly known as the “City of Oaks”. They are a fairly new bike shop catering to “regular people” interested in cycling. They organized a few S24O trips in the past year, with a dozen or so riders participating each time. The upcoming trip was scheduled to start on a Saturday evening in late June. They promised a route of 25 miles to the campground, returning the next morning.

In keeping with the spirit of travel by bike, I decided to ride from home to the bike shop. Riding to Raleigh from the adjacent town of Cary would add about 13 miles to my route and give me a little time to get used to riding with a load before riding with the group.

Piecing together a series of marked bike lanes, signed bike route sections, and some low-traffic-volume side streets, I was able to to get from my neighborhood to one of Raleigh’s paved greenways without having to deal with too much heavy traffic. Raleigh’s Capital Area Greenway System contains over 100 miles of trails. In the last few years, the system has completed key connections that allow fairly long stretches of travel on greenways.

I joined the Walnut Creek Trail at the east end of the Lake Johnson Nature Preserve. Happy to be away from vehicle traffic and the hot afternoon sun, I followed this greenway eastward along a small, shady creek and into the Centennial Campus of North Carolina State University.

IMG_2499-1024x768

Walnut Creek Trail continues another eleven miles to connect with the Neuse River Greenway on the east side of Raleigh. But I was heading to downtown Raleigh, so I left the greenway and cut through the Dorothea Dix campus. The Dix campus is a state-owned property that has long served as a mental health facility. Its grounds have large open green spaces and may soon be managed as a regional destination park. The view of the city skyline above rolling green lawns and a thick oak tree canopy was amazing, considering how close I was to the downtown area.

View of downtown skyline from Dix campus

View of downtown skyline from Dix campus

After just a few city blocks I found myself in front of Crank Arm Brewing. Their slogan of “Beer love. Bike love.” should leave no doubt why I chose to make a stop here on my S24O route! A pint of Rickshaw Rye IPA went down perfectly on the outside patio, as I sat next to my loaded bike.

Patio at Crank Arm Brewing

Patio at Crank Arm Brewing

In keeping with the day’s cycling theme, the local Trolley Pub rolled by while I was there, with all 14 riders pedaling away merrily. Many of them also seemed to be loaded, but in a different way.

Leaving Crank Arm, I rode north for several blocks before turning east on Jones Street. Riding through the downtown area wasn’t so bad late on a Saturday afternoon. The trip through the heart of downtown was quick, despite riding past the southern end of South America (see picture of four-story globe on the side of the NC Museum of Natural Sciences).

Passing by South America

Passing by South America

I also rode past the General Assembly building, the Governor’s mansion, and the Krispy Kreme Doughnut shop. The Hot and Fresh sign was not lit so I did not stop. –

Krispy Kreme! But the sign is not lit. :(

Krispy Kreme! But the sign is not lit. :(

Oak City Cycling is tucked into the basement of a small building on the north edge of the downtown business district. Their relatively small space is packed with bicycles and gear. David, one of the owners, greeted me when I rolled down the ramp to the garage door that serves as their entrance. Several other riders came in one by one. After a few introductions our group of eight headed out through nearby neighborhood streets.

Neighborhood cruising

Neighborhood cruising

In less than two miles we turned onto the Crabtree Creek Trail where it crosses Raleigh Boulevard. Transitioning to the greenway marked our departure from an urban street environment to one even more green and relaxing. We passed under or over several major roads as we followed Crabtree Creek to the northwest, but it felt like we were in a separate world.

Our route turned to follow the Mine Creek Trail greenway northward, going past Shelley Lake. We eventually rode beyond the current reaches of the greenway system. The ride leaders knew a route that kept to neighborhood roads and led us further north and away from the city.

Quick break

Quick break

Eventually we even rode beyond the suburban sprawl and found ourselves on rural roads.

A final few miles on New Light Road, also followed by US Bicycle Route #1, led us to the entrance of Shinleaf Recreation Area. This campground is part of the Falls Lake State Recreation Area.

We arrived at the Two Oaks group camping site and met two riders who had ridden over from Durham. About half of the group hung hammocks and the rest pitched tents.

Two Oaks group campsite

Two Oaks group campsite

Despite having just spent over two hours with most of the group, there was still much getting to know one another to do. Snacking and conversation were soon accompanied by the sunset coloring a few wispy clouds above the trees.

The Two Oaks site is located on a peninsula that sits above a neat little sand beach in a cove along Falls Lake. We walked down to the beach and enjoyed a swim beneath the stars. Dinner cooking and a campfire followed, as well as more conversation. Some even went so far as to shower off at the bath house. There may have been a very late bike ride through the campground, although I didn’t see it from my horizontal position in the tent. Being the oldest in the group, I had claimed the right to hit the sack first.

Going to bed first may explain why I had time to sleep late (for me), rise, cook breakfast, walk around, take pictures, and pack up my gear before anyone else stirred.

Two Oaks cove in the morning light

Two Oaks cove in the morning light

I did wait until most were up so I could thank them for organizing the trip and sharing the experience with me. I bid them adios just before 9am and rolled on.

Instead of following yesterday’s route back to the bike shop, I chose to take a more direct route to my home in Cary. Several of the roads I followed were probably at their most bike-friendly on this beautiful Sunday morning. The overnight temperatures had dipped about 10 degrees lower than they had the preceding several weeks and the morning felt great.

Bike routes!

Bike routes!

By Crabtree Creek in Umstead State Park

By Crabtree Creek in Umstead State Park

I eventually reached Umstead State Park. The wide, graveled bridle paths in the park are quite popular with cyclists and connect to both Raleigh’s Capital Area Greenway System and the Town of Cary’s greenway system.

I could have followed greenways for most of the last ten miles of my ride, but with the light Sunday morning traffic I decided to just follow a couple of Cary’s signed commuter bike routes through town. Routes #7 and #5 offer a straight shot through the historic district and to within a few blocks of home.

Veteran's Memorial on N. Harrison Avenue

Veteran’s Memorial on N. Harrison Avenue

More bike routes!

More bike routes!

A "sharrow".

A “sharrow”.

My mileage for Saturday was just over 38 miles. Sunday’s mileage was about 26 miles, giving me a trip total of 64 miles. Not only had I ridden a respectable number of miles, I enjoyed a number of local sights and met some new friends. I walked back in the door 21 hours after I left, successfully completing my first S24O. It will not be my last!

Please share this!

Birkhead Hike Trip #215

Just a few miles southwest of Asheboro, NC, in rural Randolph County, lies the Birkhead Mountains Wilderness. This is a relatively small unit in the USFS-managed system, and one of just a handful of designated Wildernesses in North Carolina. Unlike many other Wilderness areas, the Birkhead Mountains Wilderness contains numerous historic remnants that are signs of past human residents. In fact, the name “Birkhead Mountains” came from the Birkhead family that once owned over 3,000 acres that included the most prominent mountain-like ridges in this area. There are a few standing rock chimneys still remaining from the old tenant farms, and several more collapsed chimneys. Old roadbeds still traverse the ridges and follow the valleys. The remains of old rock dams can still be found across many of the creek bottoms. But the forest is steadily reclaiming this area that was once home to a number of families and farms.

Hike Trip #215 is a loop that starts at the Thornburg Farm Trailhead and loops clockwise around the central triangle formed by the main trails of the Birkhead Mountains Wilderness. I started out my latest hike of this route early on a late January morning. It was sunny, but a bit frosty, and there was a definite nip in the air. There were two frosted cars in the parking when I arrived. I’m guessing they belonged to backpackers already camped out on the trail somewhere.

The USFS is restoring the Thornburg Farm as a period exhibit of an 1820’s working farm. The Thornburg Trail passes through the yard of the old farmhouse and between several of the outbuildings. The original farm road passes to the right side of the house, but a walking path goes through the yard on the left side. There are informational signs on posts beside each of the buildings, describing the purpose and age of each.

IMG_1997

I hiked along the farm road past a frosty, fallow field sparkling in the morning sun and then over Betty McGees Creek. Farm tractors just ford through the creek, but hikers have a small footbridge to keep our feet dry. I was momentarily confused by two trail options on the far end of the bridge, but soon realized that the trail proper swings out into an old field along the creek, while the other trail was made by hikers who seemed determined to get back to the farm road as soon as possible. Those hikers have tromped out a muddy path back down the creek bank and onto the farm road. The trail through the field rejoins the farm road about 100 feet further along, once the road is up out of the flood zone.

The farm road climbed quickly and soon brought me to a nice overlook of the creek from a little rock outcrop. Higher up I passed a recently sown field that appeared to have inch-high wheat or grass coming up. It is probably one of the fields being managed as a wildlife food plot. This field caught my attention because it seemed to be so much more open to the sky than the lower fields. I noted to myself that it would probably be a nice place to star gaze from, being so far from street lights. From there, the trail follows the farm road up towards the ridges that form Birkhead Mountain.

The trail soon came close to a larger rock outcropping. Relatively isolated groups of rocks poking up out of the ground like this are fairly common throughout the Uwharrie Mountains. Most of them appear to be disc-shaped, looking like a set of fat stone pancakes buried halfway in the ground, on edge. A foot trail branched off to the right here and headed toward this set of rocks. I saw a recently used rock fire-ring there, and could see how that would be a neat place to camp. The foot trail then reconnects back to the old farm road and the main trail.

Someone had erected a fairly new wooden sign with routed lettering at the intersection with the side trail. I found it a little confusing because it had arrows pointing left and right, with the name “Robbins Branch Trail”. That’s the name of the trail that the Thornburg Trail eventually tees into, a mile or so further on. I first thought maybe there had been a major reroute since the last time I had visited.

Below that sign was another that said “To Birkhead Mtn Trail”, with arrows pointing to the left. From here, you have to follow the Thornburg Trail almost a mile to it’s end, take a left on Robbins Branch Trail, and hike over a mile and half to the end of that before you finally tee into the Birkhead Mtn Trail. The signs’ information could be considered technically correct, but they seemed out of place to me. Of course, I would recommend that you trust your guidebook first, and well-intentioned signs second. These were not official USFS signs.

IMG_19491a

After thinking about this sign a little more, I’d be willing to bet that the sign installer, having already toted the heavy sign post and posthole diggers up the trail to this location, saw this “intersection” and was more than happy to set his load down and erect the sign. The sign would make much more sense if it was placed at the Thornburg/Robbins Branch Trail intersection, which is the next and only “real” trail intersection you come on the Thornburg Trail.

Trail signage and the trail itself were both easier to follow after that. The Thornburg Trail is blazed with white paint. There is an official USFS-made sign where the Thornburg Trail tees into Robbins Branch Trail. Less confusion resulted when I read that sign. Following the Hike #215 route, I turned left/north here and followed the trail as it dropped off the ridge down to Robbins Branch and then cross-crossed the branch numerous times, leading me upstream. The trail eventually climbs up onto the main ridge of Birkhead Mountain itself, where it tees into the Birkhead Mountain Trail.

The trip route turns right and follows this section of the Birkhead Mountain Trail along another old road on the top of this long ridgeline. It eventually drops down the southern end of the mountain and intersects with the Hannahs Creek Trail. Turning right on Hannahs Creek Trail, I soon passed by a beautiful example of an old stone fireplace and chimney. It is actually a double fireplace, with two separate hearths on opposite sides of the chimney. Not far from here, I met a small group of hikers, some of which were members of the original Uwharrie Trail Club. I had met several of them many years ago. They were still out enjoying the trails and were glad to hear I was working on a revision of the guidebook.

As I hiked along Hannah’s Creek Trail, I noticed a couple of unsigned trails that I did not remember from previous visits. They had obviously been used a fair amount since last fall’s leaves fell, so they must go somewhere interesting. I didn’t have time today to explore them, so I’ll save them for another day’s adventure.

Hannahs Creek Trail parallels it’s namesake, although not too closely, crossing a few small side streams along the way. It does stray far enough from Hannahs Creek to take you by another impressive set of boulders.

IMG_1979

Hannahs Creek Trail ends where it meets the Robbins Branch Trail. The #215 route turns right at this intersection and follows Robbins Branch Trail back northward to the intersection with the Thornburg Trail. From there I retraced my steps back out to the trail head.

The #215 loop hike is just over 10 miles long. A detailed map, mileage chart, and elevation profile can be found on pages 214 and 215 of the Uwharrie Lakes Region Trail Guide.

Please share this!

Wood Run Trail Expansion!

On November 12, 2011, the Tarheel Trailblazers hosted a ribbon-cutting for the trail work being done under the recent Recreational Trails Program grant and a matching donation from First Bank in Albemarle. It is being called Phase I of the Wood Run Area Trail Expansion. Although most of the work being done consists of relocations and rehabbing of the existing Supertree Trail, Keyauwee Trail, and a portion of Wood Run Road, there has been enough new singletrack trail created to call this a true “expansion”, and that’s exciting!

IMG_1890a

The ribbon-cutting “event” consisted of a catered BBQ lunch, a brief announcement and thank you’s to the people and groups that came together to make this happen, and some loosely organized rides to go see the new trail. Yes, a ribbon was cut.

IMG_1896a

Brian Bristol was the hero of the day and was given due praise for his extensive efforts to bring together the people and groups that made this expansion happen. Brian acknowledged my work as one of the early torchbearers who started UMBA and worked with the USFS to get the first “bike trails” signed and opened in the Wood Run area. Thanks Brian!

UMBA started in the mid 1990′s. Brian got involved in the mid-2000′s and transitioned the “club” to a SORBA chapter and helped carry the dream forward. The “club” then evolved into IMBA/SORBA and the Tarheel Trailblazers out of Charlotte got involved. A grant of nearly $95,000 was awarded last year and Trail Dynamics was contracted to do the trail work. I’m sure most of the riders reading this will find the history lesson interesting, but are really wanting to know what was done on the ground!

After the festivities settled down, Brian and I rode out from the Wood Run Camp on Keyauwee Trail, heading clockwise around the trail. The trail was rehabbed from the camp up to where the hiking trail intersects. The intersection was moved slightly to the left to line up better with a completely rerouted section climbing up the first mountain. The new trail swings further to the west and switchbacks up the mountain to tie into the old trail near the top.

From there, the trail down to the end of Walker Mountain Road was rehabbed with rolling grade dips. At the road, new trail angles off to the left and heads south around the contours of the mountain before turning back and heading north again. This new trail crosses the gravel road once and switchbacks up the mountain before contouring along the west side of the mountain. As it drops off the mountain from there, I was reminded of the smooth-rolling grade dips found on the Warrior Creek trails near Wilkesboro, NC. Those trails were just awarded IMBA Epic status this past week, so making this comparison is significant!

The trail crosses the big creek in a well-armored new location and works its way around to tie into the old trail along the relatively flat section between the two creeks. The steep climb up to the road from the big creek is history now. There were some minor reroutes from the small creek up to where the Uwharrie Trail crossing was, but that section is still a significant singletrack climb in this direction.

After crossing the Uwharrie Trail, Keyauwee still works it’s way around the shoulder of Dennis Mountain on the old off-camber section, but after that it has been routed to gain elevation smoothly up to the saddle. From there, it follows an old road bed back to Wood Run Road. The one short singletrack climb in the middle of this section has been rerouted to switchback up in a more manageable way.

Even though Brian I and I missed riding during the middle of the day, I think we caught the light just right with our late day spin through the trails. The low angle of the sun lit up the changing leaves in fluorescent yellows and reds. Beautiful.

IMG_1898a

We also rode through Supertree clockwise. Only the first part of the reroute on the south side of the power lines has been completed, but they will eventually move all of the trail from the power lines back to Wood Run Camp off of the road and onto new singletrack.

The first piece of trail built was an alternate to riding Wood Run Road all the way to the Camp from the NC24-27 parking lot. Just past the power lines, the new Wood Run Trail splits off to the right and snakes its way to the camp. This section also features the flowy feel of a well-designed and properly built trail.

Ed Sutton and the Trail Dynamics crew did a great job building the new sections of trail and rehabbing the existing trail to make it all nearly maintenance-free. Taking care of water drainage is the key, and they have done that well with rolling grade dips, banked switchbacks, and proper sloping. They even worked in a few rock garden sections, with bypasses, for those riders who aren’t content with just flowing smoothly through miles of secluded forest trail.

If you can’t get out to ride Wood Run right now, you can see still see the trail, sort of. I found these youtube videos of the new Keyauwee trail, taken several weeks ago. The trails are a lot more polished now, but you’ll get the idea. This guy rode it the opposite direction from the way Brian and I did. Video 1Video 2Video 3

photo1a

Brian Bristol and Don Childrey

Please share this!

Uwharrie Hike Trip #205

Last Friday’s weather was fantastic. I had to work. But I did make time Saturday to get out for a hike. The weather was about 10 degrees cooler than Friday, but it was still sunny and quite pleasant for a hike.

My goal was do Hike Trip #205 from the Uwharrie Lakes Region Trail Guide. It’s about a 12 mile loop. Starting from the USFS trailhead parking lot on NC 24-27, the Trip follows Dutchman’s Creek Trail northward until it crosses the Uwharrie Trail. From there the Trip jumps onto the Uwharrie Trail and follows it back to the parking lot, completing a counter clockwise loop.

This time of year is good for seeing more of the Uwharries than you do in the summer. With the leaves down, you can see some of the neighboring ridges, albeit through a screen of silvery gray tree trunks.

DSCN9703-Stitch

While I was up on top of Dennis Mountain, I noticed a neat four-trunk tree. It was even marked with one of the white paint blazes used on the Uwharrie Trail. About 30 yards down the trail I saw another four-trunk tree beside the trail. I’m sure there’s an explanation for why there were so many multi-trunked trees in that area. I’ll leave that for someone else to discover!

fourtrunk

Even though the parking lot was pretty full, I only met 6 groups out on the trail. Averaging one group every two miles is not bad, if you’re looking to get out for some solitude. I did have a guy sitting on a log beside the trail offer me a beer. That was pretty friendly.

After I turned onto the Uwharrie Trail, I noticed that there was a lot of grayish colored dirt on the leaves in and beside the trail. A little further on, I noticed that the ground looked like it had been well traveled by lots of feet pretty recently. Thoughts of a herd of hikers coming through came to mind. I’d probably hiked along a good half mile before it dawned on me that what I was seeing was evidence of the previous weekend’s Uwharrie Trail Run. All of the 20-milers came through here, and the 40-milers came by twice. I even read my friend endurogirl‘s account of her run within the past few days and it still took me half a mile to connect the two things.

Endurogirl talked about wading knee-deep across streams on her run, but things were pretty dusty a week later. Even the large streams were dry enough to rock-step (not even rock-hop) across without getting wet. The weather lady has been saying we’re in a severe drought already this year. I believe it from what I saw along the trail this weekend.

I did most of my snacking and drinking as I walked, so I only stopped a few times for pictures or to check out something interesting up close. By moving steadily, I managed to hike the 12 miles in just under 4 hours. Of course, my pack only weighed 10-12 pounds, if that much. I enjoyed that part of it much better than all the times I’ve toted a full 50+ pound pack along that trail!

Here’s a PDF file of the two pages covering this trip – Hike Trip #205 from the Uwharrie Lakes Region Trail Guide. Enjoy!

Please share this!

Uwharrie Trail Club Revival

2011-UTC-patch

The Uwharrie Trail Club has recently seen a revival. Ok, maybe I’m a little slow in catching on. “Recently” might only be true if you include last year in that description. But for a club that first got started in the early 1970′s, last year is fairly “recent”.

2010 started with no active club in existence. In April, several hikers with a strong interest in the Uwharries decided to revive the club. By the end of the year they had organized and held a hike into the Birkhead Mountain Wilderness, held a general meeting in Asheboro, ordered new club patches, manned a booth at the Uwharrie Mountain Festival, and put on the Monadnock Exchange. By the end of the year they were up to 28 members. I just added another member to their roll.

For 2011, they are planning a variety of opportunities for those who love the chance to get together for hiking, biking, paddling and service outings. Membership dues are only $5 for a individual, $7 for joint memberships and $8 for family. Even if you’re not sure if you can be attend many outings, I’d encourage you to join as a member and show your support. C’mon, it’s only $5. Clubs like this are key to the future of trail resources, so if you’ve ever hiked in the Uwharries, or want to, do your part and join up!

Karl Munn of Charlotte takes care of memberships. He can be reached at awa-km@att.net for applications and renewals. Tom MacMillan of Stanly County will be organizing events. His email is tmachebgb@earthlink.net. The club’s mailing address is Uwharrie Trail Club, P.O. Box 32455, Charlotte, NC 28232-2455. They do not have a website up yet.

The Monadnock Exchange, in case you missed it, was a conference whose objectives were to bring together people of varying interests to promote better stewardship for our public lands in the Uwharrie Area, to gain knowledge of The National Wilderness Preservation System and The Wilderness Act and to become aware of some of the issues and opportunities within the trail systems in the Uwharrie Area. The keynote speaker was Ted Snyder, a former Sierra Club national president and a wilderness advocate. Joel Hardison and Theresa Savery with the USFS gave presentations about the archaeological resources of the Uwharries, a history of the Birkhead Wilderness and the Leave No Trace program. Bill Hodge of The Southern Appalachian Forest Coalition reported on developments of a new stewardship program for the southeast. A panel of 5 “subject matter experts” was put together to share a bit of info about their perspective on the Uwharries.

I participated as a member of the panel representing the hiking community. My book, the Uwharrie Lakes Region Trail Guide, apparently served as my credentials to be on an “expert’ panel. I graciously participated without trying to set them straight on the value of my credentials. Other panel members included Dean Najouks of the Yadkin Riverkeepers, Ron Anundson of Morrow Mountain State Park, Elizabeth Earnhardt representing equestrians and Uwharrie Trail Riders Association, and Brian Bristol of Explore Uwharrie represented the mountain biking community.

Please share this!