Friday, January 27, 2012

Boulder Area Crowder Mountain State Park 1/21/2012

Rain was in the forecast so we decided on a short hike on the Ridge Line Trail starting at the Boulders Trail Head.  My previous blog entry in March 2011 provides information on this trail head including location.  As in the earlier hike we followed the .23 mile spur trail to the main Ridge Line Trail.  This time we turned right and followed the wooded trail .58 miles to a crossing of the road we drove in on.

This is a well maintained trail that can be followed north for another five miles to the Kings Pinnacle Trail.  In less then a half mile we reached a sign for the Boulders Overlook.  There is a short section of trail to the left but no improved overlook.  There are boulders that can be climbed on and open views at a number of location both to the left and the right along the ridge.

We spent some time following the little "trails" around the rocky areas.  This would be a nice spot for a picnic on a warmer, drier day.  Many of the rocks look interesting to climb on but they also look like an area that snakes would enjoy.   As we followed the ridge from boulder to boulder we could see the main trail below us.  It was neccesary to backtrack to rejoin the Ridge Line Trail.

We followed the main trail until it began to switchback off of the hill and did not see another access to the boulders area.  At this point we retraced out route back to the trail head.  This trail follows the ridge of a very old mountain range going up and down hills rather then mountains until it reaches Kings Pinnacle.  It is not level but is not steep either.

Monday, January 16, 2012

South Mountain State Park Loop Hike 1/15/2012

We decided to get back out on the trail today with a short loop hike at South Mountain State Park.  We started from the parking area at the end of the road but took the less busy trail at the top of the parking next to the ranger's residence.  The Little River Trail immediately starts to climb.  Although not steep is gains elevation continuously for about a half mile.

The trail is an old dirt road that is well maintained.  This time of year there is not a lot of green showing along the trail but there were some ferns that have survived the winter weather.  There were also some Holly and Evergreens.  Although called the Little River Trail the only water we saw was a tiny run passing through a culvert under the road. 

The temperature was around 50 but the nights have been cold and there has been rain.  Near the end of this section of trail Mitch spotted some icicles melting away under a dirt overhang.  We began to get open views of the surrounding hills about this time.  At .7  miles we reached a trail intersection with clear signs.

We turned left and walked a half mile to the next trail intersection.  This area was a mostly level walk  with views on both sides.  The first trail allowed foot traffic only but this one is a horse trail and had evidence of such.  We had fun noticing the variety of horseshoe and hoof prints in the trail.  At the intersection there were more signs and an old bench.

Not wanting to make this a long hike we turned back to the first intersection and headed down the Raven Rock trail towards the River trail.  This trail seemed steeper then the trail we came up and had switchbacks and timbers added to retard erosion.  It was well maintained and not overly steep.  We came to a short fence that looked directly down on the park road.  The first step would have been a long one.

The trail crosses the road and goes a little ways down to the river.  From here it is a pleasant .4 mile walk along the water back to the parking lot.  We did not see a single person on the trail until we were beside the creek. This park may not have the spectacular vistas like the Blue Ridge Parkway oe the Smokies but it has many miles of pleasant trails to choose from.