Fifth Annual Uwharrie Trail Thru Hike Dates Announced!

Uwharrie Trail Hike

The Land Trust for Central NC is excited to announce the dates for our fifth annual Uwharrie Trail Thru Hike backpacking trip, which will take place on October 12 – 15, 2017!

Have you heard of the Uwharrie Trail? At 40 miles, it is the longest single-track footpath in central North Carolina. The LandTrust and other conservation partners have been working for the past 20 years to reconnect this trail, and thanks to these efforts it can now be hiked in its 40-mile entirety. This Uwharrie Trail is known for its cultural and natural significance, including such unique features as old gold mines, rare plants and wildlife, ghost stories, and more. Join us for an awesome backpacking trip through some of the oldest mountains in the world, as we pay tribute to the trailblazers and uncover the secrets of the past.  [Read more…]

Densons Creek Trail

by Crystal Cockman

February 13, 2017

uwharrienationalforest
https://www.fs.usda.gov/main/nfsnc/about-forest/districts

A few weeks ago I hiked along the Densons Creek Trail starting at the U.S. Forest Service Ranger station near Troy. You start out on the short loop and jump on the Densons Creek Trail not far in, following white blazes. You pass over Glen Road about 0.8 miles in, and then you have to pay attention to the trail to make sure you go the right way to stay on Densons Creek Trail instead of getting onto a spur trail that doesn’t go anywhere. The trail for most of the way is marked with orange and white paint.

You get to a gravel woods road 1.72 miles in and hike along it for approximately 0.2 miles. There is pretty good signage most of the way, and you’ll want to follow the signs that say they lead back to 24/27. Just past where the trail goes back into the woods off the gravel road, there is a concrete crossing on Densons Creek. We stopped here to take a look, as this is your first sighting of Densons Creek.

From here, the trail follows Densons Creek, which is a beautiful stream with large rocks and fast moving water. I am sure in the springtime there would be a plethora of lovely streamside wildflowers in bloom along this stretch. There was one footbridge that had been washed away enough to not be of any use, and so we had to scramble down the banks of the small creek and back up to the other side. Trekking poles really help out for crossing creeks.

We got off the trail near the end, as it wasn’t marked clearly, and followed alongside Highway 24/27 in the woods. I stepped in a hole fully up to my knee, but thankfully wasn’t hurt. We were able to connect with Glen Road, and the route planned for going up it anyway to connect back into Densons Creek Trail, so we got back on track there. From there it’s just a little over a quarter of a mile back to the parking lot at the ranger station. Total length of trail is 3.31 miles.

This is a short hike but perfect if you don’t have a lot of time but want to get out in the woods. The topography is not very challenging, but there are a couple of places with some small hills. It might be a good loop to run training for a trail run, as you could make pretty good time on it. It would also be a nice trail to hike in early spring, when the wildflowers are blooming and you might spot some critters along the creek. It will be one I am sure I will visit again.

Distances are courtesy of Don Childrey’s book, Uwharrie Lakes Region Trail Guide, available at donchildrey.com.

Wood storks

by Crystal Cockman

February 6, 2017
woodstorkWhile at the Pee Dee Wildlife Refuge in Anson County a few years ago, during a meeting of the Greater Uwharrie Conservation Partnership, we spotted an interesting species, thought to be out of its natural range – the wood stork (Mycteria americana). There were four of them, all juvenile, and they were perched on some of the dead standing trees in a marshy area.

The wood stork is the only stork species found in North America. It was formerly called the wood ibis, but it is not an ibis. Their head resembles that of an ibis, which is where they got the former name. They are white with black-gray legs and pink feet, and their head is dark brown with a bald gray to black face and neck. They are approximately 45 inches tall with a wingspan of 5 feet. They have a long bill, up to ten inches in length, and it is curved. Unlike herons, they fly with their neck stretched out. [Read more…]

Crossroads of the Natural World

by Ruth Ann Grissom

February 2, 2017

IMG_0646In a speech commemorating the bicentennial of Andre Michaux’s summit of Grandfather Mountain in 1794, Charles Kuralt claimed the famed French botanist “knew that within his sight…exists a greater variety of plant life than can be found in all of Europe, from the arctic capes of Scandinavia to the shores of southern Greece.” Conservationist Tom Earnhardt referenced that observation during his talk at the Charlotte Garden Club (www.charlottegardenclub.org) meeting last month.

Earnhardt, a Thomasville native and host of the popular public television program Exploring North Carolina, frequented the wild places of the Uwharries in his youth and discovered his passion for nature at his family’s property on Bear Wallow Mountain near the Eastern Continental Divide. [Read more…]

Remembering Rachel Carson

by Crystal Cockman

January 26, 2017

silent springPBS aired a documentary recently on renowned conservationist Rachel Carson. Best known for writing Silent Spring, a book that brought to light the negative human and environmental effects of synthetic pesticides, Carson was instrumental in advancing the modern environmental movement.

Carson was raised on a 65-acre farm in Springdale, Pennsylvania. She began writing at a young age, having her first published story at the age of ten. She attended the Pennsylvania College for Women (now Chatham University), starting as an English major and then switching to Biology. She continued her studies at Johns Hopkins University and earned a masters degree in Zoology in 1932. Her father soon passed away, leaving her to care for her aging mother, so she had to leave her studies to raise money for her family.

[Read more…]