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.
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!
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!