Walker Creek Trail

Posted By on May 13, 2020

Walker Creek Trail

7.02 miles; Barnardsville, NC

Hey, Beakers, sorry for the long wait between posts. Been feeling a bit down, so I haven’t been out as much as I should. That said, this last one almost killed me!

I felt I needed a short-ish hike to get back into the swing of things, and picked this one in the Pisgah National Forest. AllTrails had the track, which measured 4.09 miles long, and although I could see it was a fairly strenuous hike (over 1200-ft elevation gain), I figured I could do anything for 4 miles.

You can see this one coming, right? If not, just look at the top of the post. This WAS NOT a 4-mile hike, and when I say it was hard… it was a lollipop loop, and 3/4 of the loop was uphill. The other quarter of the loop was very, very steeply downhill. My legs were shaking like jelly in an earthquake by the time I made it back to my car.

Weak Bridge

Parking was in front of this little camp/retreat called Mountain Light Sanctuary. And yeah, no, not crossing that bridge.

Log “Bridge”

On the other hand, the Weak Bridge looks like the GW in Manhattan compared to this actual “bridge” on the trail. That is a very vigorous water flow, and probably knee-deep on me in spots. And this was on the “stem” part of the lollipop, so I knew I’d have to cross it again to get back to my car. [Ed. I did, and didn’t get wet through some miracle of physics.] Eesh. North Carolina and bridges… what’s the danged deal here???

Gorgeous

All my whining aside, this was a gorgeous hike. The woods were lush and so sweetly-scented, and there were no bugs to speak of. And this hike is bounded by two mountain creeks—you can hear the flow of water for most of the way.

Wildflowers!!!!

In fact, if it weren’t for how strenuous this hike was I’d have been in heaven. I took photos of 22 individual wildflowers on this hike. I even recognized a lot of them, but certainly not all. It was so amazing. [Ed. Note: for a more detailed investigation of the various species see my Facebook page, where I highlight one wildflower a day.] I used to hike with the Rhode Island Wild Plant Society’s Lisa Gould, who was originally from North Carolina, and used to extol the abundance to be seen here. I get it now. And interestingly, the fact that there were so many plants I recognized is not a coincidence, as the glaciers which covered most of the northeastern US at one time ended in what is now North Carolina, and dragged lots of seeds and plants south with them at their furthest reach. There is a lot of overlap between the flora of RI and NC, is what I’m saying…

Deadfall

There was a lot of deadfall on the downhill stretch of this trail. It must have once been a hemlock forest, and I saw some amazing Reishi mushrooms on the massive old hemlock logs that sprawled across the trail.

Indian Cave?

As you can see there’s a rock wall in front of this giant glacial erratic. Do you suppose it is Native American in origin? Curious.

You can find out more about the Pisgah National Forest from this website. As always, click the image above for details about this hike and to download the gps track. Just be warned… it’s 7.02 miles!!!

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