17 Oct Day 1 – NC Bartram Trail
Saturday- October 17, 2015
Lying under my tarp writing this with the campfire smoke burning my eyes.
My friend, Mark and I dropped his car at Buckeye Creek and we drove my car to Hale Ridge Rd where we began hiking north. Still in the 40’s by late morning.
After crossing HWY 106 at mile 3.6 we went up log steps and proceeded up steep wash straight up the fall line. The trail turned left and began switchbacks just past the steps but we missed that. Eventually we were wandering around lost high up the mountain. We climbed up steep rock exposures and wandered a number of false trails, always trying to bear left in an effort to rejoin the trail. Unfortunately, most clear trails led us right. We climbed to avoid impenetrable laurel. To avoid undergrowth we climbed rock faces where we found them. I used my Iphone app GPS to bear closer to the trail GPS trail track. Reaching difficult laurel, I dropped my pack and slipped through the laurel thicket then climbed more rock until GPS showed me nearly on top of the trail. I didn’t know whether to trust the GPS track that I had downloaded from the Internet. In any case, too far to turnaround without knowing, I bushwhacked straight up through briars and overgrown laurel toward what appeared to be level area 30 feet above. Emerging through the vines and thorns I stood on the trail next to one of the Bartram’s yellow blazes attached to a tree. I yelled down to Mark that I found the trail and heard a whoop in reply. We were exhausted, I still had to descend to retrieve my backpack and repeat the last part of the ascent. My forearms were bloody, torn up by briars. We had emerged close to the top of Scaly Mountain. At Scaly Mountain, we took a break to enjoy the views and chowed down on the Subway sandwiches that we had brought along.
The last part of the day was spent ascending toward Jones Gap. Around 11 miles we found a flat spot to camp. We camped 0.2 miles past Jones Gap without ever coming out on the road. Apparently, the trail has been rerouted and the guide is out of date. (Note: 10/18/2015 – The trail hadn’t been rerouted. We were actually still short of Jones Gap.)
We pitched tent and tarp, ate dinner of stovetop stuffing and Moon Cerse. Built a fire and ate marshmallows and fig newtons and fell asleep exhausted and happy to be back on the real trail.
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Location:Retreat Ln,Highlands,United States