Wednesday, February 2, 2011

George Masa Hikes Caney Fork

This is pretty cool: trail notes and a map by the legendary photographer, George Masa (1882 - 1933), from a hike with the Carolina Mountain Club. Of course, this predated the Blue Ridge Parkway. It's fun to imagine what that familiar territory must have been like without the Parkway running through it. I've seen Quinland on the map. It was on the Haywood County side where a trail crossed the ridge to Caney Fork, in Jackson County.

22 November 1931

An all day hike best suited to the seasoned hiker.

The Richland Balsam rises to the height of 6540 feet, just a 150 feet less than Mt. Mitchell, and is closely associated with a dozen peaks of 6000 feet or over.

Leaving Asheville (6:15AM) follow N. C. #10 west 34 miles to Hazelwood, which is two miles beyond Waynesville; turn left at Allen Creek, over good dirt road four miles to Quinland (3000 feet elevation). Park cars (7:45AM).

Hike road east about three-fourths mile; cross Allen Creek and enter gate to the right onto the Waynesville watershed. Follow little used road about 200 yards, turn sharply to the left straight up ridge, over an old trail to top of ridge. Here you encounter wire fence, which is the boundary of the watershed. Follow fence up snaggy ridge to summit. Approximately two hours and four miles have been consumed (9:45AM).

Both trail and and fence turn to right and approach Cold Spring Knob (6010ft) less than a mile away. From this knob a splendid view of Pisgah, Pigeon River Valley and surrounding mountains may be had (10:15AM).

Continue to follow spring SSW into Double Spring Gap, where water can be had by passing over fence onto the watershed a distance of 200 yards.

Keep following fence just as long as the trail stays with fence. Then the trail leads south to crest of ridge (11:45AM). More perfect views. Follow ridge thru small gap and onto the Richland (12:30PM). Lunch and feast your eyes. Unobstructed views from here are limited only by the elements. You may see the Mt. Mitchell range, Cowee mountains, Blue Ridge beyond Franklin, much of the Smoky Mountains, ect.

To complete the circle, do not follow ridge leading NW as trail there has been obliterated, but drop down to the western side of this ridge until a splendid trail is encountered. Good water crosses trail. Follow trail NW by Lone Bald and on to Cany Fork Bald, which is about one and a half hours from Richland Balsam. As you approach Cany Fork, views of the beautiful Cowee range may be had. Follow fence to gate, passing thru continue straight ahead in a northerly direction. This trail leads down for four miles to cars. We arrived at five o'clock.

Some dozen and a half grouse, a snipe, bear signs, ravens, large hawks and small birds were observed along the way.

This hike in many respects remind one of the Smoky Mountains.

Fifteen hikers including four ladies made the trip on Nov. 22, 1931. O. C. Barker, leader.

Ambler, Barbara
Barker, O. C.
Davis, Frank
Jones, Allmond
King, Jewell
Loftin, R. A. - visitor
Masa, Geo.
Morrow, R. V.
Nihlean, Janette
Rogers, L. D.
Rogers, Louise
Rogers, Marion
Stephens, Geo.
Underhill, Sidney - visitor
Wilmot, John

Sunset on the Cowees, viewed from Richland Balsam, 2009

1 comment:

MIJ said...

This is very, very cool but the thing I noticed first was the time of the trip from Asheville to the start of the hike.
One hour and a half and this did not seem to be a burden on the day trippers. There were no four lanes but more importantly there was no apparent hurry.
Perhaps I reflect too much on the deterioration of the soul imposed by modern life but I wonder if our greatest detriment to discovery is our hurry; to get somewhere, to get something.
Appreciation, which is at the heart of preservation, seems to be a process that lends itself to patience or at least one that does not lend itself to hurry.
Discovery, itself a unique joy, seems, in essence, to be an appreciation of heretofore unnoticed and hence unappreciated detail. Movement designed only to accomplish a here to there action seems the ultimate denial of a journey's purpose.