Noelle gave me permission to go on a solo adventure and so I packed my pack and hit the road towards Erwin. I drove through town to near the Chestoa Picnic Area, but instead of visiting Chestoa I crossed the Nolichucky River, passed by Uncle Johnny's (a hostel I visited when thru-hiking the Appalachian Trail in 2000), and drove through the dying town of Unaka Springs. After passing through town I parked near the Unaka Springs Cemetery. I followed an old road from the cemetery down to the railroad tracks.
The railroad tracks that run parallel to the Nolichucky River traverse some of the most beautiful terrain in the eastern United States.
I backtracked on the user trail back to the railroad tracks and made my way further east. Soon enough I found another small creek with another trail running along side it. This looked quite promising. There was a well-used campsite on a bench above the tracks and an old rocky, washed-out road leading uphill. This had to be the road that leads to Lost Cove! I followed this road up higher and higher. At first there was no sign of any abandoned human habitation. Eventually though, I found a rusted frame of some sort and and a rusted loop of barbed wire.
A little way past the barbed wire the road flattened out a bit. I passed a large rock formation just to the side of the road,
A photo of the site taken in 1969.
A photo of the site taken in the 1960s.
From the chimney I followed the road further into Lost Cove. A side trail led to the right and I followed it to the remains of a cabin. There was not much left of it, just some burned timbers, a chimney,
From the burned building I made my way deeper into Lost Cove. I passed some of the rotting detritus left over from years of human habitation
someone had posted some pictures of from 1969 on Flickr. Yes, the area has changed a bit in 50 years. From here the road headed over to the largest structure still standing in Lost Cove.
Supposedly, these are left from the former school/church that once stood here.
Just past the stairs was another still standing structure.
It was now getting late. As much as I wanted to explore more, I knew I needed to head back to the car and home. Regretfully, I made my way down the rough road to the railroad tracks.