Starting with 554.4 miles, 86,600 ft. ascent
Stokesdale to start of Greensboro Greenway
10.1 miles, 300 ft. ascent
Gabriel picks me up at 7:30 again for my next day on the Mountains-to-Sea Trail but decides not to walk with me. I don’t blame him; the sky is gray and there’s a chance of rain.
“Call me anytime, if it starts raining and I’ll pick you up,” he says.
That’s very sweet so I don’t tell him that I’ve spent a
lot of time, effort and money to get these miles so I’ll walk through rain. He
drops me off at the church in Stokesdale and I promise to let him know when I get back to my car.
Stokesdale has about 3,200 people, more than double that of Walnut Cove. Its main street is on the highway and not very attractive.
I would not petition to make either town a “trail town”. But the trail
quickly turns from the highway to side roads. First the houses that I pass are
set on flat, treeless lots. But another turn takes me to an attractive neighborhood
on the outskirts of Stokesdale where I cross the Haw River.
Unlike the road walk last winter, the dogs here are not a
problem. They are fenced in, or on a leash or just accepting of walkers and I
The last stretch passes through Summerfield, which is a
legitimate historic town.
I pass the memorial to Bugler Boy Gillies who died at the hands of the British during the Revolutionary War.
The plaque is small and almost hidden in the bushes, in front of a power plant. I would never have seen it if I
wasn’t walking. Then I realize how close we are to Guilford Courthouse National Military Park, in the middle of Greensboro. There was a lot of American Revolution action in this corner of North Carolina.
As I get closer to the center of Summerfield, I pass a large
plaque and cemetery for Charles Bruce (1733-1832), revolutionary leader and founder of Bruce’s Crossroads, now Summerfield. Bruce is buried under these huge trees.
The memorial sits in front of a school and the cemetery is on the other side of the road. I would have blown right past that as well in a car.
In the distance, donkeys are grazing quietly and don’t bother coming over to the fence.
I keep looking for that magical coffee shop, the one with a cappuccino and let me eat my sandwich discreetly. But there’s nothing on this route. The town hall is the only interesting public building on this route along with several quirky houses.
I pass a sad looking shopping center with a CVS and a little
later an antique furniture mall with a public rest room. With all those couches and easy chairs, what if I sat down and pulled out my lunch? Then I’d really look homeless.
Instead I continue walking. Historic Summerfield has turned
poor and down at the heels. I find a piece of dry grass on a corner opposite
the Circle M Mobile Trailer Park. A resident shuffles to his trailer, eyeing
me. His dog is barking wildly and going nuts but he’s on a leash – thank you
The trailers here are in bad need of repairs and a good coat of paint. The trailer park has all the classic characteristics of a rural slum – on the edge of town, out of sight, no stores around other than that shopping center that didn’t seem to have a supermarket. Trailers go on forever until I reach US 220. This highway which goes into Greensboro has serious traffic.
But the wide grassy sides help. Here I don’t wave and no one honks in
solidarity. I just walk briskly and keep a careful eye for traffic.
Finally Strawberry Rd. where I turn in to find my car. It took me 4:40 hours, not bad. I call Gabriel. “I’m back at my car, safe and sound,” I say.
The Greensboro Greenway starts here. Another piece of trail
off the road which I’ll savor on my next trip. But my day isn’t done. I have to
get the gist of the trails on the Greenway and find the end point for the first
day on my next stretch. I pull out the North Carolina Gazetteer, state map, map
of the watershed, map of Greensboro, and the directions which I worked out last
I do find the trail end, finally, and also find a Starbucks before heading home.
Cumulative after Day 48, 564.5 miles, 86,900 ft. ascent