Thursday, April 15, 2010

A Soggy Ending On A High Note

MST – Day 14 - 3/28/10 – Taylor Road to Hanging Rock State Park VC – 10.5 Miles

A half-mile walk on the road this morning took us from our parking area to the Taylor Road Section 4 of the Sauratown Trail. If your storage building falls down, just put another one beside it.

As we walked through Sections 3, 2 and 1 there were a few items of interest:

A victim of the harsh winter - this tree was bent in half by heavy ice and snow

A bit of wasteland - this section had been clear-cut

Vade Mecum Creek

Hunting stand

After crossing into Hanging Rock State Park, we detoured a quarter of a mile to investigate Tory’s Falls, looking invigorating on this chilly morning, and Tory’s Den, a fascinating part of North Carolina’s history. Sign boards in the parking lot detail the story of more than a hundred British Loyalists hiding in this cave during the Revolutionary War. Spoiler: they were found!

 I was surprised that this very accessible waterfall was deserted when we arrived.

 Danny outside Tory's Den

 Danny inside Tory's Den

Hanging Rock State Park is really a jewel of our state park system, one of only two state parks that has cabins for rent. It was built by the CCC between 1935 and 1942 and includes a lake and bathhouse, car camping and 18 miles of hiking trails.

 After Tory’s Den we met our first real elevation challenge for this trip. As we began to climb, the rain began to fall and the previous three days’ efforts caught up with me and I labored up the trail. The payoff at the top was Moore’s Knob firetower…but the view was zilch as the clouds enveloped us. We ate a less-than-adequate lunch under the ledge of the tower and then walked down elaborate stone steps towards our trail terminus. As often happens, the last mile was an exercise in mental endurance. After winding our way through the lakeside parking area, we finally reached the visitor center, where we changed into dry clothes and Danny and I parted ways. The bad weather continued and later that evening there were reports of multiple tornadoes in the central Piedmont area.

So three triumphs for this venture into the Piedmont: another section of the MST completed, another firetower visited (although I need to go again to do it justice) and another NC state park visited. Can you tell I like checking items off my lists?

For a great book on North Carolina's fire towers, look here.

(Read Danny's blog about today's hike here.)

Great things are done when men and mountains meet. ~William Blake

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