Millstone Falls & Trail Maintenance Trip – 3-21-2010 & 3-24-2010

Millstone Falls:

Second day of Spring and still warm weather but some approaching clouds and a lazy Sunday made me want to go on a short trip somewhere so I chose to go to Millstone falls since I have not gotten any photos of them since getting my new camera. My girlfriend Linda, my son Tyler, and I made it there from my house in about 15 minutes as they are close by and not far from the road. The water levels were still decent and despite the bright light I managed to get a few nice shots.

Millstone Falls

Millstone Falls

To see more pics of these falls please visit the Photo Gallery.

Trail Maintenance Trip:

I was contacted by my fellow trail worker Doug Corkhill that he was planning a trip to Big Bald to do a walk-though of his trail section to get an accurate assessment of the blow-downs and storm damage situation and clear what could be moved. He is always courteous enough to pick me up in Spivey Gap so I can walk from Big Bald over to Little Bald where my section begins and then proceed downhill to Spivey Gap to the other end of my section. This makes it much easier and shorter distance than going from bottom to top and back and I appreciate him going the extra distance to make this possible. This time we took a different route to access Wolf Laurel from the backside which saved us several miles of driving as well as some time. We also stopped on the way to see the Big Creek falls that were kickin’ some major butt that day.

Big Creek Falls (North Carolina)

Big Creek Falls (North Carolina)

Although I knew there would still be some snow in the higher elevations, I was not prepared for the actual amounts we found. Big Bald for the most part was actually clear except for some side slopes where deep drifts still remained, however heading down to the shelter we soon discovered some much deeper snow and places where the trail was not even visible and hikers had been making their own trails in all directions leading down to the shelter. It was about 18 inches deep at that point. It was a beautiful warm sunny day but the deep snow made it hard going and the large tree tops that were blocking the trail were buried and impossible to remove like pulling  rebar out of  concrete.

Big Bald

Big Bald

After finally reaching Little Bald and looking off the North slope, my fear became reality as I encountered much deeper snow and even more downed trees with no way to follow the trail as hikers had climbed around the blockages on the steep side hill trail to the crest of the ridge and followed it most of the way down like I had to do, post-holing with each step about 26 inches deep until I finally reached a place where the snow ended at the top of the upper relo. I was nearly exhausted at that point and my boots were soaked. I started sawing and clearing the trees and limbs making my way to the nice campsite on the ridge where I took a long well deserved break to dry my boots and feet in the warm sun and eat my lunch hoping to regain enough strength to make it on down to Whistling Gap where I hoped to meet my friend Bol’Dar.

big bald view

View towards Mt. Mitchell from Big Bald

There was much work to do after that but I finally came dragging into the gap with my RAT-tail between my legs where Bol’Dar was indeed waiting looking nearly as haggard and tired as myself. We compared our adventures for the day before walking out the old forest road from there down to my vehicle I had left at the gate instead of the trailhead. This was a good thing as I dont think I had enough energy to make it over High Rocks and down to Spivey Gap. Thanks to Bol’Dar for all his hard work on my section. I am sure the hikers appreciate it even more than I do. The saw crews are heading there on 4-7-2010 to remove what we were unable to. Hats off to those guys as well.

gnarley tree

Gnarley Tree near Big Bald

Posted on 8 April '10 by , under RATtreks.

One Comment to “Millstone Falls & Trail Maintenance Trip – 3-21-2010 & 3-24-2010”

#1 Posted by melb1970 (09.04.10 at 21:02 )

And a big thank you for your hard work. Us hikers do appreciate it!!!!! I’m hoping the snow has left us until next winter:)

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