Monday, June 7, 2010

Dayhike on Savage Gulf

There were eighteen hikers, plus a guest, that joined us for our 4 miles+ on the plateau at Savage Gulf (which I found out thru research was named after an old settler, Samuel Savage). We left the parking lot and headed toward the Ranger Station where we past butterfly weed with their tops bursting with orange. Bearing right, we entered the wooded trail wet from the nights rain. Spring flowers were mostly spent, only a few rhododendron with their blooms still fresh were spotted for the most part. We crossed a couple of wooden foot bridge's before making it to Boyd's Branch with a suspension bridge where we were warned to only cross two at a time! Soon, we came to an intersection where we found a fellow painting the letters a bright white on a wooden marker sign (several of us had noted the white, white letters on previous letters so this explained why!).
Turning left, we traveled a distance to make it to Rattlesnake Point Overlook, a spectacular overlook where we found a dedication plaque to former owners by the name of Samuel H. Werner, Jr. ad his wife, Ellen Young Werner. They purchased 3,800 acres in Savage Gulf in 1924–26 and protected and preserved the gulf forest, which became part of the state natural area in 1973
Continuing on, we came to the a spot where we could spot Savage Falls Overlook through the foliage on the ridge.

Then we began a gradual decline, and it wasn't long before we were somewhat parallel to Savage Creek.

 At one piont, there is a sign beside the water indicating it was the home of a long ago moonshine still. A little further, we came to the top of wooden stairs. At the bottom, there were huge rock boulders and we found ourselves at the bottom of the falls with a gorgeous inviting pool. A few continued on out onto some large boulders that were out into the stream.

Approximately 500 acres in Savage Gulf along Savage Creek below Savage Falls were never logged, so today the stand of hemlock, yellow poplar, oak, ash, basswood, beech, maple, and hickory is one of the largest old-growth remnants of the mixed mesophytic region of the Eastern deciduous forest. The importance of the forest is recognized in its designation as a National Natural Landmark. «

The italicized portion above is copied from the Savage Gulf State Park website, but I thought it was worth noting as there aren't many area's to be found in southeastern Appalachia that hasn't been logged!

The group loafed about bit here for a while, and I got a pic of Bob with his sweet daughter, Laura (I think!).

On our way out, a few took the spur that led past the campsite area (why do I wonder if Bob was in that group?) The rest continued on, retracing our steps back to the Ranger Station. However, I spotted these neat mushrooms which I couldn't not take a picture of and also the end of this tree that seems to tell a story all its own! We only had a snack on the trail so we all loaded up, headed back down off the mountain and 'somehow' ended up at The Cookie Jar. This restaurant should be outlawed for its fat calories, but hey...if it's there, we must go and so we did. It was some good eatin'! I also took home a piece of coconut cream pie that was to die for! Happy Trails and can't wait for the next hike with this great Wednesday group.

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