Thursday, September 10, 2009

Turkey Pen in the Mist

I was over at Dennis's house this afternoon cutting a few boards for him and seeing as how I was at Turkey Pen and just happened to have my bike with me I decided to go for a little ride. Two years ago I broke my hand on Cantrell. That really sucked and since then I have not ridden the section of Cantrell between Squirrel and Horse Cove so today I decided to go back and check out the scene of the accident.

Cantrell is one of the wettest, rockiest and perhaps most technical trails in all of Pisgah. It is pretty much like riding down, or up depending on your direction, a creek bed. Just a never ending pounding of rocks and roots that never let up. Add in dozens of downed trees and a curtain of Dog Hobble and it becomes clear that Pisgah really is a rain forest.

My route was South Mills > Cantrell > Squirrel > Mullinax > South Mills > 66 Jumps

It was easy to spot where I broke my hand. A couple of wet logs and then a bunch of rocks and then some more wet logs. I know now that I was probably going too fast at the time. Lesson learned.

When I made it out to Squirrel I encountered a big group of backpackers of the troubled youth variety who were beginning a bushwhack. They were headed up a drainage for the top of a mountain. I tried to figure out where they were going but we were having a hard time agreeing on place names. I guessed they were headed for the top of Funnel Top and then would go down Shooting Ridge but it sounded like the top of Rich Mountain was their goal. It sounded like a ton of fun to me and I expressed my jealously. In turn they wished me well at the Tour De France.

A heavy mist hung in the air that gave the woods a reflective sort of feel and I took it nice and slow on Squirrel and reflected back on all the good times I have had in those woods. The first time I rode Squirrel I was very much a newbie and that 28 mile loop took me 8 hours. The second time I rode it there was four inches of snow on the ground and I did the Turkey Pen Gap Loop for the first time (you don't want to know how long that took!). Since then there have been thousands of adventures along the way and thousands more still to come.


No comments:

Post a Comment