Saturday, May 16, 2015



One of the oldest mountain range in the world are the Uwharries located in Randolph County, North Carolina.  The National Wilderness area sports some pretty secluded trails and camp sites.  We decided to hike the Robbins Branch Trail via Hanna's Creek and Birkhead Mountain Trail...a 7 mile loop...ouch!

It was 84 degrees with 50 per cent humidity.   I do not suggest this trail on a hotter or more humid day.  While not overly strenuous, the trail is long and has a few hills that will vapor lock you on a hot day.
You park at the Robbins Branch Trailhead but soon have a choice to make....take the loop counterclockwise via Hanna's Creek Trail or the left fork up Robbins Branch a good Republican I turned to the right.

Not far up Hanna's Creek Trail we encountered a rock garden strewn with unusual rocks which had be be millions of years old.

Not far from the rock garden was a campsite with the remnants of a old chimney that had collapsed into a pile of stone.  As it was a natural cairn, I added my rock pausing to thank God for the beauty of the day.  

We crossed Hanna's Creek and barely got our feet wet and proceeded up the trail and suddenly stopped in our tracks are the foot of a gorgeous White Laurel in full bloom.

At mile 1.66 we intersected with Birkhead Mountain Trail.  This trail is a 10 mile trail crossing the entire Wilderness area.

The Birkhead Mountain Trail boasts a homemade sign commemorating the location of the plantation of  Christopher Bingham who lived on this land in 1780.  We tried to find a graveyard which was supposed to be in the area but gave up after a short walk up a side trail.

The Birkhead Mountain Trail is a wide well maintained trail which leads up a gradual incline as we summit some of the oldest hills in the world. It has a wilderness feel even though it is obvious that the area had been timbered sometime last century.
My Hiking companion and I noted that we had passed the Soprano's Restaurant on the way in and this area reminded us of the famous "Pine Barrens" episode of the show where Paulie and Michael get lost in the woods after trying to find a place to bury a not yet dead Russian mobster.  

Remember the famous line? Fortunately we never ran into the guy!

We stopped to enjoy some really nice wild flowers.  It was like someone had carefully planted them for us to enjoy. 

One of my favorite flowers "writ on the margin" of this trail is this orange beauty. First, because it is so pretty; second because photographing it allowed me to stop and catch my breath as we climbed one of the steep hills.   " A flower's structure leads a bee toward it, having pollen adhere to its body...we don't know of any such reason why beautiful places attract humans" (David Rains Wallace)

At the 3.69 mile mark we found the intersection of the Birkhead Mountain Trail and Robbins Branch Trail.   I did not let my Hiking Companion know we were still 3.1 miles from the end of the trail.

Fortunately, the three mile hike was mostly down hill and followed the banks of the Robbins Branch.

At the five mile mark we were greeted with another nice wildflower and needing a break I stopped to commemorate our feat with a picture.

A mile and half later we completed the loop.  It was far from an easy hike on this warm day.  But it was a fine workout for the FBWG and his Faithful Hiking Companion.  After 7 miles and nearly four hours on the trail, our dogs were tired!

Rating this hike will be unfair....Access off Lassiter Mill Road is not  a problem if you follow Old NC 49....not like I did and follow New NC 49...thanks to Siri I found the trail head.....7;  The trails are well marked and maintained....8;  Scenery is not happening but if you look to the margins of the hike you can see some nice things....7;  the effort to view ratio is messed up....big effort for a bad view....overall a 7 hike but a good one for the exercise. 

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