Friday, November 22, 2013

Pisgah National Forest: Green Ridge Trail

There was a 50/50 chance of rain today, but I decided to take a chance and head out for a hike anyway. Actually, my drive into the Shelton Laurel area had a dual purpose. Not only would I be hiking the Green Ridge Trail, but I would also be scoping out the Frosty Mountain Christmas Tree Farm.

I headed into North Carolina after dropping off the recyclables at the dump/recycling center. The drive was pleasant and before I knew it I was in the Big Creek section of Shelton Laurel. I had a little bit of trouble finding the trailhead for the Green Ridge Trail, but after backtracking and crossing a shallow creek I turned past an old sawmill and found the start of the trail. There was an old stragely outfitted truck there.
trailhead truck
Was it used to drill wells? At first the trail was really just a gated road.
The road gently ascended along Dry Creek.
Dry Creek
At the point where the old road made a nearly 180 degree turn, I saw a faint path continuing straight ahead. This was the yellow-blazed Green Ridge Trail.
leafy trail
blaze and fungi

I have to admit that the Green Ridge Trail  is not the most interesting trail I've ever hiked. I did see a small waterfall that is currently almost completely dry.
water trickle
I'll bet that after a good heavy rain it flows pretty nicely though. Once past the dry waterfall the trail starts switchbacking steeply up the mountain to the top of a ridge. The combination of a steep trail and lots of dead, downed leaves made for some slippery hiking conditions. The fact that all the leaves were down did have a benefit though, it allowed for lots of distant views through the bare trees.
view through trees
I even caught a glimpse of the Christmas Tree Farm.

Once the trail reached the ridge it leveled out a bit. The trail did, however, become less distinct. I saw a pair of hunters out with their three dogs. I'm not sure what season it is in North Carolina right now. Once I reached the Appalachian Trail I headed north for a bit. I was worried about the lack of daylight though, as I had gotten a late start. I had originally intended to hike to the Flint Mountain Shelter, but decided against it as I did not want to hike in the dark.

Green Ridge AT Junction
The return hike was easy, but a bit treacherous due to the slippery leaves.
On the Trail
It got a bit dark and threatened to rain, but the worst I encountered was a few minutes of light drizzle. On the way I passed a possible cave.
Possible Cave
It was difficult to tell if went very far. I'm guessing it does not as I don't think there is a whole lot of limestone in the area. Once I got back to the road section
road walk
I was able to really move and soon found myself back at my car.               

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