Friday, May 2, 2008

Big South Fork NRRA: Laurel Fork Creek Trail

Well I just finished taking my last final, worked a full day at McConnell Springs, and then headed down to the Big South Fork for a little bit of adventure. Wednesday night I drove as far as Alum Ford Campground. It was the first night I had camped there without being serenaded to sleep by the local yahoos. No, on this particular night I was serenaded by Barred Owls. A real roadtrip would not be complete with some sort of mishap, and on this particular trip I forgot to bring along a headlamp. No big deal except I brought along a new tent that I'd never set up before. Of course it was dark when I arrived and I used the headlights of my car to get a little bit of light. Still a frustrating experience.

The next morning I packed up my tent and other belongings and headed to Bandy Creek Campground where I set up camp and then headed out on the bicycle for my destination- Jack's Ridge Trailhead. I knew the trailhead was on a four-wheel drive road, but I didn't realize that the road was just loose sand. It made for some difficult cycling. When I got to the trailhead I ditched the bike and started to hoof it down to Laurel Fork Creek. It was a beautiful hike along the creek and I even got to see some small waterfalls.
However, the creek was high from all the recent rains which made the fords a pain in the butt. I hate hiking in wet socks and boots, but by the end of the hike I got sick of taking them off for the fordings so I just got my feet wet. All in all a good day of hiking, an 11 mile loop. On Friday I had originally planned to hike another section of the Laurel Fork Creek Trail, but I didn't feel like fording the swollen creek numerous times so I changed my plans. I opted to hike the short,easy hike to Angel's Falls.

It was enjoyable, especially with all the pretty wildflowers in bloom. Then I drove to check out something on my Trails Illustrated Map that had intrigued me called "The Chimneys".
From there I hiked some horse trails to Indian Dome Rockhouse.

Finally I drove down the old O&W Road to the bridge. I parked there and hiked across and up to the Devil's Den Rockshelter,
then above for a great view of the Big South Fork River.

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