BACK TO DOUGHTON FOR THE FIRST TIME
ago, when I lived in
Saucony was able to join us, too. She had her third and (hopefully) final surgery two weeks ago. She had her stitches out on Friday though, and the vet gave her permission to play in the woods. After all the hikes she had missed out on the last few months, she probably thought we were teasing when we asked her if she wanted to go.
made it to the
plan was to combine the Flat Rock Ridge,
crossed Basin Creek on the
Christy suggested we continue on, but turn back if conditions worsened, or if we ran short on time. With her blessing, we scrambled over the obstruction. Once we reached the crest of the ridge, conditions improved. There were still some fallen trees, and lots of branches, but for the most part we were able to keep moving.
an hour and a half, we met 2 guys coming the other way. They were doing the same hike, but had
started on the Parkway. A couple of
minutes later, we reached a cliff with a nice view over
We resumed the hike at noon, and immediately reached another cliff with an equally nice view to the southwest. This cliff was bathed in sunshine, and would’ve made an even better lunch spot.
more climbs along the ridge brought us to the Bluff Mountain Trail /
Mountains-to-Sea Trail just below the Parkway.
We followed this path for a mile of easy walking. At a couple of places, we were treated to
pleasant views down the
reached Grassy Gap and the Grassy Gap Trail before long. Originally I had planned on continuing over
We descended the Grassy Gap Trail, which is an old fire road. Two more deadfalls blocked the trail early on, but generally the wider path was clearer than the trail on Flat Rock Ridge.
What I thought would be an uneventful descent became a bit more interesting at the first creek crossing. The crossings of Grassy Creek are usually easy rock hops, but today the water was up. The first was still easy, but the second was downright tricky. The next two weren’t any better. I began to worry about the final crossing. The trail fords Basin Creek, which is a much larger stream than Grassy Creek. Then we passed the same two guys doing the hike in the reverse direction. They warned us that we’d have to wade Basin Creek. Oh goody, that’s just what I want to do in January.
resumed the hike, and before long reached the backcountry campsites. The campsites in
Beyond the campground we reached the moment we had been dreading. Basin Creek is usually an easy rock hop, but the high water had submerged several key rocks. Two other hikers were on the far side, trying to find a way across. One repositioned some rocks, but crossing without wading still looked difficult. We reasoned that we were only 30 minutes from the car, so what did we have to loose?
worked my way across the slippery, wobbly rocks. Waterproof boots were essential, but somehow
I got across without soaking my feet.
Christy followed without much difficulty. From there, it was an easy, though
occasionally muddy, hike out along Basin Creek.
We returned to the car before 4:30, which was well before dark. From there it was only a short drive to Elkin
for Mexican food, before we returned to
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Please remember to Leave No Trace!