Tuesday, May 18, 2010
Yellow Stand Lead Trail in the CNF
There were occasional glimpses of scenic distant mountains, but the foliage prevented a full view; however, the trail was enjoyable. One had the sense of being in a true wilderness area; the woods thick with shadows and green growth, the kind that inhibits the sun but fosters quiet thought. The trail wasn't quite cleared 'for company' as Che noted, but Gary later informed us that a group of 70 scouts from Michigan were headed into the area to do some clearing! About a mile later we came to a right-turned switchback that began to descend, newly cleared, and this brought us down to some draws in the mountain where water fell through rocky creeks which we crossed on our way. We found out that Gary and Mickey had worked for 26 days to clear this area!! About .8 miles further down, we crossed where Big Creek came down the mountain and stopped for lunch in the middle of the woods.
Finally, we left this idyllic spot and began the further descent down what was now Big Creek Trail (2.4 miles). For a good part of this trail, we were within ear shot of the water gurgling down the creek. Soon, we turned again to the right and crossed Peter Camp Branch. Beyond this, it was up a little bank to again follow the creek. J.D. was struck by the beauty of the huge Beech trees along this trail and Larry really liked the mountain laurel thickets. One particularly fragrant area caught Che's attention and she took off in search of the source. She brought a small branch out of a blooming tree and it was discovered to be Yellowood. I did some research and found out this is also sometimes called Gopherwood (Noah was supposed to have built the ark from gopherwood) and that the early settlers obtained yellow dye from the wood. Another black snake was seen by some on this section of the trail.
Gary and Mickey were great hike leaders and the Yellow Stand Lead Trail was one to remember and try again.