Sunday, March 12, 2017

Steels Creek

Two weeks ago while running the Seven Sisters we paused at the top of Greybeard Mountain and as we gazed out at the mountains one mountain way off in the distance in particular stood out - the iconic Table Rock. Its distinctive profile was but a speck on the horizon but was dominate even from that vantage point.


The following weekend I had plans to camp in the Wilson Creek area and with Table Rock still on my mind I planned to run out and back to the top  of Table Rock from Barkhouse on the MST on Saturday and then explore some trails in the Craig Creek area on Sunday. Driving up highway 181 out of Morganton Table Rock was very much the prominent feature with glimpses of it peeking around every corner. My plans took a detour when the highway was closed at Brown Mountain Beach Rd. due to a tractor trailer that jackknifed on the road. 

The accident led me to drive through the Wilson Creek Gorge after which I planned on taking Craig Creek Rd. back to 181 and then on up to Barkhouse but when I got back to the highway the accident was still above me and the road was still closed so there would be no getting to Barkhouse that day. Instead I stayed in the Craig Creek area and ran several different trails around there.


After a nice night spent out under the stars I headed back out to 181to do the run I had planned the day before. The jackknifed rig was gone and my plans were back on track. My destination was Table Rock where I have been before but I was equally excited to see Steels Creek. Last summer at the Wilson Creek Sweatfest Brandon had suggested I check out Steels Creek as a possible canyoneering destination so I was eager to see what the creek was like.

Running down to the creek I had the feeling that I was all alone in an enormous wilderness. The creek was wondrous and once again I was taken aback by just how amazing of a place Pisgah is. No matter how many different areas I explore Pisgah never ceases to amaze me and I am lucky to live a life filled with such wonder and beauty.

Steels Creek was chocked full of waterfalls that the trail only offered me fleeting glimpses of and I'll no doubt be back this summer with a rope so  I can explore it from a different perspective. By the time I made it out to the gravel road I was short on time and with Table Rock so close that I couldn't fail but to grasp it I turned around and headed back to the truck without going to the top. It was one of those trips where the journey was more important than the destination and Table Rock will still be there next time.


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