Big East Fork Trail

5/20/18

Sherri, Debbie, Layla and I

We decided we were going to hike Sunday rain or shine. They picked this trail in the Shining rock wilderness. Sherri and Debbie came to pick me up. Our trail guide was in the backseat and as I got in I felt like I was being crowded. I think our guide liked me? Practically sitting on my lap. I was like “move over!”. Then the kisses started . After the excitement of the new girl wore off and all was quiet. Our trail guide is adorable and was a real good guide!

We got to the trail head and got ready to head down the trail. We were doing a 8-10 mile out and back.

This trail goes along the Pigeon River or it’s called the Big East Fork. It’s a beautiful rushing river. At least it was this weekend because they have had a ton of rain. I read that there isn’t usually much water down there.

The weather was awesome. The sun came out. The ground and trees were wet and it smelled good like after a big rain. The trail almost always went along side the river. Sometimes we were right alongside it, sometimes it was way below us.

We have hiked so much in the winter months that today was so out of the ordinary.  This trail appears to be completely under a tree canopy.  The trail winds through thick ground cover, lots of trees and rocks.  It was busting with green.  All of the ground cover was about 2 feet deep.  Some of the areas of this trail are pretty dark even in broad daylight.

There are not alot of views along this trail.  There is a mountain range to the right and we are at the base of the mountain range to the left.  All the views of the river are awesome.

There were a few water crossings and a few areas where the trail literally went down across the rocks. This trail has a little bit of everything. Layla was so good on the trail. She would never get to far on front of us without stopping and waiting for us or coming back to get us. She loved to be in the water.

As we were walking Layla was first, then Debbie, Sherri then me.  We were walking along and I keep seeing Sherri looking up to our left.  A couple miles in she says “this is a scary trail to me.  There is so much tall ground cover that you can’t see anything.  The river is so full that it is very loud and we can’t hear much else.”  Well that just made me nervous.  The next couple of miles all I do is look right, left and behind me!  I’m thinking bears.  If I was a bear I really think I would like to live here.😁

We actually did not see any signs of life in the woods other than birds.  We didn’t see any snakes, snails, beetles, mosquitoes,  deer,  nothing.  I really thought we would see a snake.  It was dark and damp most of the way.  There were not any animal tracks on the trail either. This was probably from all the rain.

There were a lot of great campsites along the river.  One in particular had a nice beach area of the river.  The swimming hole here has a small rapid area at one end and is clear as green glass. We decided we want to camp there.  That’s really kinda funny since I have an irrational fear of the dark especially in the woods!  I’m going to have to conquer that eventually.

We kept walking deeper and deeper into the woods and walk up on this old stump in the ground cover and Layla stopped dead, then Debbie and Sherri and I looked up and gasped out loud.  My heart stopped.  It looked just like a bear!   Not a great pic tho.🙄

That just added to my nervousness.  Debbie thinks this is quite weird since she has hiked this trail alone.  She also thinks it looks just like the foothills trail.  Which yes it did.  I just said well there are lots of people on the Foothills trail!  I’m not sure why my anxiety was so high but it was.

I even wanted to turn around a few times.  Debbie clearly didn’t but I think Sherri was with me! We would all decide to keep going.  At one point we were probably a mile or two from the end of the trail and we discussed it again.  I made the decision to turn around. Part because of the time, part because it was humid and hot and part because of bears!

We went back about a half mile and walked down to a campsite along the river to have lunch.  It immediatley felt cooler.  I had planned to get in the water but now the temp seamed colder.  We had lunch and then got going.

With in a half of mile it was clear why the temperature had dropped.  We walked right into a thunderstorm!  It started off slow then steadily got harder.  We put our rain gear on and kept on down the trail.  I must say Debbie looked crazy in her poncho.  She is barely 5 feet tall, had a backpack on under the poncho.  I remarked she looked like a ninja turtle.  My poncho was a clear cheap $1.00 poncho.  It did the trick though.  I stayed dry under there. It was so very thin i felt every drop of rain and even the coldness of the rain! Sherri wore a rain jacket that didn’t keep her very dry.

The rain came harder and harder.  The thunder was above our heads for miles. That thick canopy of trees I was talking about didn’t seam that thick after all.  We were in a downpour and it felt like it.  I could not help but laugh.  I kept laughing out loud down the trail.  It was really funny.  The trail quickly filled up with water.  Sometimes we were walking in 1 inch of water, sometimes it was 3 inches.  There was no reason to try to dodge the water anymore so we plowed right through it.  We must of walked in the pouring rain for 3 or 4 miles!

My phone died just before the rain so I didn’t get any rain pics except this one.

Baha!

Hiking in the rain is still better than not hiking any day!

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