Last Sunday Bob, Laura, Christy, and LL Bob joined me for an easy hike at Morrow Mountain State Park. Although Morrow Mountain is only a 1 hour drive away, Bob & Laura hadn't been there in almost 20 years and the rest of us never had. We decided to check it out, expecting it to be a fine place for a December hike.
We started at the boathouse on the Pee Dee River and hiked up Fall Mountain. From the far side we had nice views of the River and Lake Tillery. We dropped down off the mountain (all 900 feet of it) and arrived at the base of Falls Dam, at the head of Badin Lake. It made a nice place for an early lunch as we watched cranes playing in the river.
After lunch we hiked a fun little trail along the riverside back to the parking lot. From there we started the second half of our trip on the 3 Rivers Trail. It passed through an interesting flood plain full of huge vines. After a short walk, we attempted to bushwhack over to a nearby horse trail. Soon we encountered an endless series of blowdowns. Would the same crew that found a route from the Pinnacle to Greybeard last fall be turned back by a State Park? After a lot of climbing and dodging trees, we found a way through. We were all pretty relieved to get our feet back on a trail.
We followed the horse trail to the Rocks trail, where we encountered a sign warning us of dangerous cliffs ahead. "INJURY OR DEATH POSSIBLE", the sign screamed. I was tempted to take it. It would look great on the ceiling above my bed. What better reminder to see each morning before getting out of bed? I suppose injury or death is always possible. However, being a good citizen, I was forced to restrain myself. We did stop for a group photo though.
We eventually reached the dangerous cliffs. They consisted of a rocky bluff at the edge of Lake Tillery. The views were pleasant looking out over the lake.
We returned on the same trail, but forked to pass through the campground. Along the way we spooked a white tailed deer. We then began the steepest climb of the day. The trail up Hattaway Mountain had our blood flowing. On the way down, we decided to bushwhack again. This one was easier, and we soon found ourselves on another horse trail. We followed it and a park road back to our car.
Everyone seemed to enjoy Morrow Mountain. It certainly doesn't have the outstanding scenery of the western mountains, but it was a pleasant place for a winter dayhike. We saw only a few people and a fair amount of wildlife. There are several other trails in the park, so I may plan another hike there later this winter.
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