Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Rock Creek on February 23rd

We can't do the Cumberland Trail without Don Deakins and the Cumberland Trail Volunteers, and such was the case on Wednesday when their group combined with ours to swell the number to 32! We met at Leggett Road and shuttled over to Retro  Huges Road. From here, we huddled for a group picture and that was the last time we were all together! Richard a/k/a Rabbit took off with Wayne, Larry, Stormy, Karis, and others. Soon, they were way ahead and we didn't see them again until we stopped near the end of the hike for lunch.

A couple of miles in, we had passed beautiful rock formations, pine woods, and rhododendrom thickets as we descended into Rock Creek Gorge. Fortuately, there was a ladder to climb a small bluff which took us down a trail to the very nice 80-foot Rock Creek Bridge. We climbed up and turned right before slowly descending to a trail that followed the creek for a distance, passing a comfortable looking campsite to the right. We passed Leggett Branch with the cascades to the left. There were huge rock formations all along the trail, inviting exploration; someday! We passed several wooden bridges: Rocky Branch Bridge, Flat Branch Bridge, and then Boiling Springs Bridge. We had a great scenic spur at Rock Creek Overlook.

After crossing Boiling Springs bridge, we began a gradual but steady climb to ascend to the Rock Creek Loop Trail. After reaching the top, we turned right and met Richard, Stormy, and Karis.

They had their lunch and some interesting conversation (later reported!) and had to take on off to get Richard back early. The late-comers hiked 1.5 miles down to Leggett Point and enjoyed lunch on rock outcroppings with the sun warming the area.

 It was a real treat after many lunches in the cold weather this last winter. Finally, we headed out and very soon reached the Upper Leggett Road Trailhead where cars were waiting to shuttle those that needed to back to Retro-Hughes Road.

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