Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Daniel Boone Park


There are many legends of Daniel Boone and the time he spent in North Carolina.....in fact an early tourist effort by folks in North Carolina involved a driving tour following stone arrowhead markers.  You can find three in Forsyth County, one at Union Cross Elementary School, another outside Hanes Park and one at Old Town Elementary School.  The significance of each is lost.  But the one pictured above is at a special site.....Boone Cave Park in Churchland community in western Davidson County.  It is a 100 acre park originally purchased in 1909 and now owned and maintained by Davidson County. Well maintained for a county park.  But on a hot August Day, it was not the day to explore the park....but as the FBWG says: " A hike is where you look for it"

We parked at the picnic shelter and took a short walk down to the Yadkin River.... swatting mosquitoes and gnats as we walked. 

 Getting to the cave we passed by a true Baptism Rock right out of the movies.

Soon we got to the cave... Legend has it the cave was the place Squire Boone and his family resided when they first ventured to the Yadkin River Valley in the early 1750's....

Trouble is I am not sure how they came down the Old Wagon Road...crossed the Yadkin at Shallowford and then crossed it again to find this remote cave on the eastern banks of the river.....but such logic spoils a good story.

Crawling into the cave I can see how the it would be good winter shelter.  While the ceiling is low the cave is wide enough to shelter several people. In fact the cave roof bore the smoke marks of campfires.  Another legend says the cave is inhabited by the ghost of a white wolf.....needless to say the FBWG did not linger but snapped few pics and get the heck out of there!

Leaving the Cave we walked along the banks of the Yadkin River which was muddy from all the rains we have received this summer.

We felt adventuresome so we took the "Backcountry Trail" which was a very narrow path starting along the riverbank leading to a creekbank which revealed evidence of the frequent summer rains...the path was very muddy.

 At one point we had to cut our way through briers blocking the path But the most aggravating part were the frequent spiderwebs built across the path .
We resorted to carrying long sticks to knock down the webs as we slipped along the trail.  By the way, did I mention it was 90 degrees and very humid....reminder to the FBWG- don't hike below 3000 feet in August!  The trail was well marked and soon led to a steep incline which almost caused the FBWG to vapor lock....but at the top of the hill the trail intersected with a gravel path which led to the Ranger's home.  There were some really pretty wildflowers.

Flying around the flower patch was an elusive butterfly which I tried to photograph.  Patience proved successful!
Crossing the entrance road we followed signs leading us to the "Cabin" and in the process passed the trail head of the Boone's Peak trail.  This trail like the Back Country trail is one of the park's primitive trails. On a cooler day it would be nice to take it would expand the hike to a loop around the perimeter of the park.

 The trail we followed was a wide gravel path which was a welcome relief to the spiderweb strewn Back Country trail. Soon we found the Cabin Trail which was a short uphill narrow trail....another vaporlock potential on the hot humid August day.
The Cabin is a replica of a cabin circa 1740.  It was constructed by students at Davidson Community College and is so well built it probably is not the most accurate replica but it is a nice stopover nonetheless.
At the base of the front wall is a stone tablet which proclaims this to be the very site where Squire Boone constructed his first cabin in North Carolina with the help of his 16 year old son, Dan'l Boone.
I hope the folks got their history correct but from what I have read there is no historic confirmation that Boone's Cave Park is the site of anything related to Daniel Boone....but heck he had to live somewhere so it might as well be here.

There are more sights to see ....there are remnants of an old cabin built 75 years ago and the state's largest cottonwood tree... I did not get to see these sites because it was just too hot to hike.  We trudged to the car and decided to return in the winter and see the rest of the park. Overall we hiked 2 miles and lost 5 lbs!....did I mention the temps were in the mid-90's?!

The access to the park is a 7....Churchland is on NC 150 and Boone's Cave Park Road is well marked, the park being 3.5 miles off  NC 150.  The trails are a 7....mostly because the primitive trails were so full of spider webs....not anyone's fault but it was aggravating....scenery is a 7....really not much to see once you have seen the cave...but it should be better in the fall....overall 7....

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