ROBBINS BRANCH TRAIL LOOP
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 Trail....like 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.
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.