LOST COVE

 

 

Somehow I got talked into hiking on Saturday despite a pulled calf muscle.In fact, not only did I get talked into the hike, I ended up planning it.Bob and Joel were planning on hiking in the Wilson Creek area, and the weather forecast was ideal.I only had to spend a few minutes with the Wilson Creek map and the new edition of Kevin Adamsí NC waterfall guide to come up with a hike.

 

Adamsí book describes a pair of waterfalls on Little Lost Cove Creek.I had been to the lower falls some years earlier, during a period of low water.Little Lost Cove Creek is fairly small, and at low water, the falls werenít impressive.I thought they might be worth another look though, especially since recent rains promised heavier water flow.Also, the opportunity to explore a separate waterfall upstream was intriguing.

 

We arrived at the Big Lost Cove Cliffs Trailhead around 10am.When we arrived, we found 2 guys in a van with California plates that may or may not have started the morning with some weed. After they left (they had the munchies), we gathered our gear and hit the trail.

 

After a moderate climb, we joined an old logging road on the ridge leading to Big Lost Cove Cliffs.Along the way we passed a rock outcrop with limited views.This overlook was merely a tease for the vistas to come.

 

A long descent led to a fork in the road.We stayed left, and continued out past a campsite to the cliffs.From the cliffs, we had an outstanding view across Lost Cove to the Blue Ridge, crowned by Grandfather Mountain.We had a long break there to enjoy the vistas and abundant sunshine.

 

We backtracked from the cliffs to the fork we had passed on the way in.This time, we turned left onto the path less traveled.The Wilson Creek area map shows this route as a primitive path.This is accurate, as there isnít much left of the old roadbed.We descended on it, steeply at times, through some overgrown areas.We crossed a small stream, where we spotted dozens of blooming Turtleheads.

 

The descent continued to a clearing and a possible camping area.From there, we descended further to a forest road.I had hiked this forest road years ago, when it was in poor condition.Today though, we found a recently graveled road.We followed the road downhill to a trailhead and a camping area.The road remains impassable beyond this point.We passed some road humps, and continued the hike down the narrow roadway.Before long, we reached a faint trail descending steeply to our right.

 

We descended through thick rhododendron to the faint remains of a roadbed.From there, a short, steep descent brought us to Little Lost Cove Creek at the base of the upper falls.This waterfall is nice, but bright sunshine ruined any hope of a decent photo.The falls did provide a nice place for lunch, despite abundant slippery rocks.

 

After lunch, we returned to the faint roadbed and followed it downstream past the lower falls.Beyond the falls, we found a faint path down to the creek.From there, we worked our way back upstream to the falls.This waterfall is a long, smooth slide over a steep rock face.As I hoped, it was much more impressive than it had been at lower water levels.I liked the lower falls a bit more than the upper, but the two were pretty close.

 

From there we followed a faint path downstream to the Lost Cove Trail.Once on the main trail, we followed it upstream along Lost Cove Creek.Before long, we reached a camping area and the old parking area where the forest road we had descended ends.Near here 2 guys passed by on mountain bikes.Later, we saw two other hikers.Despite the perfect weather, they were the only other people we saw all day.

 

We returned on the forest road, and retraced our steps back to the car.We returned to the trailhead at 4:30 and enjoyed cold beers before beginning the journey home.




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