Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Greensboro Watershed Ramble

MST – Day 45 – 2/11/11 - Greensboro - Lake Brandt Greenway to Church Street – 12.1 Miles
Danny walked the road miles from Hanging Rock State Park to the northern edge of Greensboro.   I was waiting for warmer weather to bike that section.  But hiking is adaptable to any temperature so we connected for some greenway miles along Greensboro’s watershed.  Beginning at the Lake Brandt Greenway off Strawberry Road, the skies were bright but chillin’ and we set off to enjoy what the natives see every day. 

A sign that you are in an urban green area:  lots of signs 

Greensboro Parks & Rec has a nice brochure complete with a map of named/numbered trails – a small criticism is that the mileages are on the reverse side.  (That $1 Smokies map has ruined me for any other way of producing a trail map.)  Most of the trails hug the shoreline so there is always a water view in the winter.  We walked on Owl’s Roost Trail, catching up on news and views since we last hiked together back in December.  Danny is meticulous about noting our start time and estimated that our pace should be better than usual since there was negligible elevation gain.  And then…we passed a side trail on the right marked “short cut fire lane.”  We glanced at it and kept on moving…and then we passed it again on the right.  Or was it a different one?  The lake was visible on our left the entire time so we could not have gone in a circle. Then we passed it a third time...on the right.
Now we were head scratching.  Does that stump look familiar?  We have hiked hundreds of miles in the wilds of western North Carolina and now could we be lost on the Greensboro greenway? 

Time to get out the trail map and the glasses.  Looked like there are some unnamed bike trails intersecting with Owl’s Roost.  A local woman out for a trail run confirmed that we were still on course.   Since I am writing this, you know we found our way out. 
At the end of Owl’s Roost Trail, signs directed us to the H. Michael Weaver Bridge crossing Lake Brandt again.  This photo reminds me of the Appalachian Trail footbridge crossing the James River in Virginia.

The MST route turns left onto the Nat Greene Trail and again follows the shoreline.  The Parks department has done an impressive job building boardwalks in low areas.  Although the ground was dry as a bone for us, this area could be quite swampy. 

Two boardwalks diverged in a wood and I...

Some Smoky Scout shadow fun

Trails in urban areas reveal interesting old buildings - a tobacco barn

Similar to our experience on the Falls Lake sections of the MST, crossing roads and picking up the trail again was challenging.  The rationale of where to place white blazes is unclear to me at times when we have to search for them.  (I guess that means I need to work with trail maintainers and learn how they do it.)  But we found the Laurel Bluff Trail for the last leg of our hike, leaving behind Lake Brandt and beginning the shoreline of Lake Townsend.

I hiked without poles today as an experiment and I have to say that I missed them.  Even if there is no steep elevation or creeks to cross, poles still help balance on uneven surfaces over rocks and roots.  Lesson learned.

Danny's story of the day is here.

I was just about to go somewhere, but I would much prefer a ramble. Because when you're going nowhere in particular, well, you are quite sure to get there~ Winnie the Pooh

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