Adventures in Pisgah

Saturday, July 25, 2015

believe it if you need it

I was trout fishing in Pisgah one day when an older gentleman engaged me in some conversation. He was wearing an AT hat and was out fishing with a much younger gentleman who I took to be his grandson. The younger of the two was very concerned about what type of fly to use to catch fish but I assured him it didn't matter because the fishing was just that good that day and as he scurried around trying to catch some fish me and his granddad started talking about the woods and their history. He asked if I knew about an old home site just up the trail from where we were and when I told him I did he looked a little surprised but glad. We talked about a few other spots and then he asked if I had ever been up another trail that goes all the way to the parkway. Of course I had. He then asked if I knew about the old CCC camp on it. No, I didn't. He told me it had chairs and tables made out of stone and even a woodstove. What? Yes, he assured me he had been there many times and used to camp there frequently in the 60's and 70's. But then after many years he had recently headed back up the trail to find the camp so he could take his grandson there but was unable to locate it on several different attempts. He even went so far as to contact the Forest Service to see if the trail had been relocated and if they could tell him how to find the camp. They assured him the trail was in the same place it had always been but could not comment on the location of the camp. Hmmn. Needless to say my interest was sparked and when his grandson started yelling that he had a fish we parted ways and I headed back down the trail for my truck wondering about the legend of an old CCC camp with stone furniture on a trail I have been on scores of times.

Unlike the phantom train, or the Cold Mtn. plane crash, that I have been unable to find this took just a little searching and the camp does indeed exist. It isn't as big or elaborate as I'd thought and may or may not be a CCC or logging camp but it is there just off the trail. The wood stove is just a modified barrel and is rusted beyond repair but the stone furniture is rock solid and I noticed they had even had running water and a sink at the site. I took some time and cleaned up the area before stopping to pull a couple of fish out of the secret swimming hole. It is a great campsite that I look forward to using in the near future!


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Saturday, July 18, 2015

Bonas Defeat again

I made another trip through Bonas Defeat last weekend. We did the big loop going down Wolf Creek before heading up Bonas Defeat. My other trip reports from the gorge are getting lots of views and for those of you trying to get beta on this very special place the main thing I can say is be prepared and know what you are doing in there.


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Saturday, June 27, 2015

Flat Laurel Creek

Imagine a creek with nothing but waterfalls stacked on top of waterfalls. Imagine a fishing trip with a seemingly endless supply of brook trout just begging to be caught. That was how I spent last Sunday. I started up Flat Laurel Creek at its confluence with the West Fork of the Pigeon river and fished my way up to where the trail by the same name intersected the creek. For a good while the terrain was technical enough that I stowed my fishing pole and concentrated on not getting hurt but the whole time the scenery was simply amazing and I had a hard time believing I hadn't been there before. I hiked along the trail for a little bit and then descended the unnamed creek starting at Wildcat Falls. That creek was too tight to fish but did contain two waterfalls including a very nice one at the confluence with the West Fork. Once I started down the West Fork back to the truck the fishing got really good with me pulling fish out of almost every pool I threw a line into.

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Sunday, June 21, 2015

Three Map Ride

Last weekend I had to go all the way out to the Wolf Lake area in Pisgah to drop off a sofa so I used the trip as an excuse to explore a little section of the map that had always intrigued me. According to all my maps there were a couple of unimproved gravel roads that petered out after a few miles but left a whole lot of land unaccounted for. Those dotted lines are often more trail like than road like and often lead to more places than the map shows and are perfect for exploring. The star of this area was Miser Creek which fed into what looked like a small natural pond on my various maps. None of my maps showed the same road configuration so I took all three with me: one 785 and two different versions of the 780 map.

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The trail head was right where it was supposed to be and I loaded up the tenkara rod with the plan of riding around for a little while before heading over to the small pond where I would fish and swim. As I rolled out everything was exactly like it was supposed to be with me on FR5077.

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There were lots of intersections and while most of the roads were signed none of the numbers matched any of my maps.

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It was a perfect hot late spring day and I was having a blast checking out an area I'd never been to before. While not overly mountainous the terrain was rather unique with lots of fields, creeks and rolling hills. I rolled right past this mountain bog dreaming of the pond that lay in front of me.

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Eventually the road signs stopped and the roads started to become a whole lot more trail like and I started just guessing which turn to take.

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I would pick a turn, take it, ride for a mile or so on unique singletrack until barking dogs and private property appeared in front of me and then turn around and push back up to where I had come from. This went on for awhile until I finally started wondering where I was and where the mythical pond on the map was. It didn't really matter, I was having fun riding trails that don't see many people much less mountain bikes.

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Eventually I gave in and used the gps on my phone to see where I was and where the pond was. I was far away from the pond and according to the USGS map it wasn't a pond at all but instead was marked as a mountain bog. Yep, the same one I had ridden past hours earlier. I chuckled at the reminder that it often isn't the destination that matters but instead it is the journey.