Tag Archives: Dupont State Forest

Dupont Forest while freezing

It was 6 degrees or 9 degrees Fahrenheit, depending on what web site or app you were looking at when Sharon Mc. and I left my place in Asheville to meet the rest of the Carolina Mountain Club group this morning.

Grassy Creek Falls

Karen L., a new CMC leader, had scheduled an ambitious hike in the Pisgah District up to the Blue Ridge Parkway. Since the Parkway is closed almost everywhere, the hike would have showed off the icicle formations on the side of the road. But she wisely felt that hiking at the 4,000 ft-5,000 ft altitude wasn’t wise. So she switched the hike to Dupont Recreational State Forest, a wise decision.

Eleven hikers showed up – amazing. We were all comparing the number and type of layers we were wearing. You’re not going to get pictures of my clothing. But here goes:

On top

High Falls
  1. a thin thermal top
  2. a thick thermal top
  3. a light fleece jacket
  4. a down jacket

On the bottom

  1. a thin pair of thermal bottons
  2. a thick pair of thermal bottoms that could be worn by itself
  3. Hiking pants

Two pairs of gloves, a neck warmer and a wool hat. And of course, hiking boots with wool socks. Did I forget anything?

We started at the Lake Imaging parking lot and walked to frozen Lake Imaging. Then up to Grassy Creek Falls. By then, the uphill got me a little warmer and I could start to feel my fingers. Grassy Creek Falls was partially frozen, just like me.

Down, down, down and finally to Lake Dense for lunch – see the photo on top of this post.

All that heat got dissipated when we sat by the lake. Lake Dense was cracking and coming out with the most unusual moans and groans. It sounded like an animal was trapped under the water.

Triple Falls

We worked our way to the highlight of the Forest – first High Falls, then Triple Falls. Both Falls had wonderful ice formation, while still running aggressively.

Other walkers were making their way to the falls. Some got as close to the falls as possible, braving the ice. Others stayed back on dry land.

By the time we got back to our cars, the temperature had climbed to the 30s – a heat wave.

When I got home, I found that I had a bunch of discarded clothes on my bed and floor – fleece and thermal underwear that I had tried on and rejected. My places now looks like a teenager’s bedroom before a big dance.

The day was cold, my fingers were freezing much of the time but I’m so glad I went hiking. Dupont Forest is a gem.

Outside on Black Friday

Lake Alford
Lake Alford

REI really started something in the popular media. They suggested that we all go outside on Black Friday, the supposedly busiest shopping day of the year. Instead of getting up early to catch a sale at a big box store, America was going to go to a park, a forest, a trail or lake. And to prove that they really meant it, REI said it was going to close its stores for the day and encourage their staff to get out. Just as important, REI was paying its employees and not making a statement on the backs of their workers.

Needless to say, it made national news and created a hashtag #optoutside. Now, the Bernsteins have been doing this for years, with our son and now with our grandkids. In this area, we’ve taken them to Carl Sandburg Home National Historic Site, the NC Arboretum and Dupont State Forest.

Today, we again took everyone to Dupont. Most of the trails in the forest are very gentle and there’s lots to see. The waterfalls are the main attractions but there are also three lakes.

Isa at Bridal Vei Falls
Isa at Bridal Veil Falls

From the Visitor Center parking lot, we took Conservation Road to Bridal Veil Falls. It’s an outstanding waterfall, from a distance but the girls-Hannah, 12 and Isa, 6 years old- wanted to explore it close and personal.

So I followed Isa closely as she climbed up and down slippery rocks and made decisions on which route to take to get closer and closer.

At Bridal Veil Falls
At Bridal Veil Falls

 

No saying “be careful” or “don’t fall”, as these words are meaningless.

Only by going with children and participating, can you encourage them to have fun outdoors. She got quite close and just as important made it back to land, safely.

We then headed back to Conservation Road and on Three Lakes Trail: Lake Julia, Lake Alford, where we had lunch, and last, Lake Dense.

By then, the rest of the world had #opt outside. We shared the trail with bikers, equestrians and many families. Groups gathered at High Falls; maybe that was the only place they went to but that was OK. They were outside.

Will this trend continue? What did you do today?

 

Dupont State Forest – Disappearing structures

Triple Falls
Triple Falls

Today I went scouting for my Carolina Mountain Club hike with Beth at Dupont State Forest.

It was another beautiful day. The waterfalls were really running because we’ve had so much rain.

Three waterfalls (Triple Falls, High Falls, Bridal Veil Falls) and three lakes (Lake Dense, Lake Alford and Lake Julia) will make a great hike.

The recreational forest, located between Hendersonville and Brevard, is known mostly for its awesome waterfalls. But there’s so much more to Dupont.

Old Camp Summit building
Old Camp Summit building

The land has a varied human history and went through many hands before the state obtained it. There are at least two cemeteries and a hundred miles of trail, mostly old roads.

Besides the Dupont company, Camp Summit, a ritzy summer camp, had been in business for twenty years. They built Lake Julia, the largest lake in the current forest. Here’s what we discovered.

Several buildings were left on the property, accessible by an easy bushwhack. I led a couple of hikes that included the buildings.

Old Camp Summit building
Old Camp Summit building

But when we went to find them this time, the Camp Summit buildings were gone. All that was left were rusted I-beams and burnt wood. A few bricks were on the ground.

It was obvious that the NC Forest had burned the structures. I am so glad that I took pictures of the decrepit buildings, while I still could.

When we found a ranger, I asked him what happened to the buildings. He confirmed that the NC Forest Service burned them because they were a safety hazard.

“How did you know?” He asked.

“We walked over there,” I said.

What's left of the Summit buildings
What’s left of the Summit buildings

The ranger thought we had taken a trail which clearly said “No unauthorized entry” but we hadn’t. We went off-trail.

He tried to intimidate me by telling me that that was illegal and I would be fined and maybe even thrown out of the forest.

Well, he was wrong.

There’s nothing in all the rules and regs on the map that says that hikers have to stay on the trail. His behavior was so different and belligerent, compared to National Park Service rangers, who really do want you on the land and try to make you welcome. I could have pulled out a piece of paper and gotten his name, but he probably would have walked away.

Another change.

On the Lake Julian Road, the old clubhouse was removed. The area was just cleared now. No need for a picture of a flat, empty space, like a missing tooth.