Sunday, January 8, 2017

Mackey Mountain

It wasn't that long ago that it seemed like the whole world was on fire and the apocalypse was upon us. The news rained downed like Napalm and a long November was followed by an even longer December. Eventually the rains came and while they didn't wash all of our sins away they did finally extinguish the fires that had surrounded us. A heavy price was paid but the forests were left to their own again. Fire in itself is a good thing but these fires were not natural . Like so much in this world  they were the result of humans messing with things that are better left untouched.

I've been eager to see some of the fire areas and last weekend I made it over to Mackey Mountain where one of the fires had raged. Mackey Mountain trail is a five mile long stretch of singletrack that if you look at the map appears to lead to nowhere. I had hiked the trail once before with Duma during a storm and recalled it being very overgrown and not too pleasant and hadn't wanted to do it again until I saw that the trail was used to access the fire by ground crews as well as serving as a dozer line at its far end. That was all the news I needed to know that it was time for me to revisit that seldom traveled dotted black line on the map.

Things started with some nice rolling singletrack that took us over a few knobs where big views were abundant. I don't get out to that side of the forest too often so it was nice to be gazing out at the iconic peaks on Table Rock, Hawksbill and Grandfather mountains.



After twisting our way along the trail for several miles we reached the first dozer line. There wasn't much to see as the fire was kept back from this area.


A short while later we found this tree which is undoubtedly a Cherokee trail tree.


From there we kept following the dozer line and reached a burned area. We assumed this was a back burn but that is just an assumption.


Following the fire line took us to the top of Mackey Mountain itself and at the top we realized that we had left the trail somewhere around the trail tree so we backtracked back to the trail.


Once back on the trail we came to a very big dozer line where it was clear they would have stopped the fire had it made it that far. Yuri was able to win the race in the process.


The big cut allowed for more big views.


Once at the end of the trail we turned around and started making our way back to Curtis Creek Rd. When we got close to the trail tree we encountered this rather phallic tree. Being a White Oak the species was right but the crook looked a little high off the ground to me so I labeled it inconclusive.


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