Rough Creek – Very Rough

Rough Creek - on Cherry Cove Trail

Burrs in my bra, twigs in my trousers.

That’s what I picked out after a day at Rough Creek in the Canton Watershed. Lenny and I were scouting his hike for Carolina Mountain Club. The general plan was to go up the road and eventually up to Cherry Cove Trail. It had been a long time since we hiked Rough Creek and our knowledge was spotty.

Rough Fork - Over the fenceThe Rough Creek area had been Canton’s watershed in the early 1900s. When it became too small for that purpose, the area was logged. It almost became a nuclear waste dump site by the US Department of Energy in the mid-1980’s. These plans were halted when citizens from the area took samples of Rough Creek’s water to Washington, showing the creek water’s cleanliness and purity. It’s now been put under conservation easement through Southern Appalachian Highlands Conservancy.

Protecting the land is one thing. Maintaining the trails is another.

After the second intersection, we continued up the left side of the trail. We climbed a steep overgrown bank and started clipping. After a short while and a few hundred feet up, we decided that we weren’t on a trail; we were creating a trail. We turned around and went back down to the second turn and continued on the road. That was easy walking in the sunshine. Why couldn’t we just continue on the road?

The map in the CMC database showed that we should take Cherry Cove Trail. Up we went. First the trail was even blazed with a red paw. See above. That was encouraging.

But after maybe less than a mile, the trail became overgrown with briars, brambles and blackberry stalks. But we were on a trail; we were sure of that. So we kept clipping even while I was being pricked by briars. I swallowed some clipping dust and started coughing. Even if we could go through this mess, would other hikers follow us?

Back down we went. We continued on the road loop. Just doing the loop road would not be an all-day hike. So Lenny came up with another plan. But it means another scouting trip.

The CMC hike is scheduled for Sunday Dec 1, the Sunday after Thanksgiving. We’ll have it all figured out by then. So plan to come and explore the Canton Watershed. 

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