SUBSCRIBE | NEWSLETTERS | MAPS | VIDEOS | BLOGS | MARKETPLACE | CONTESTS
TRY BACKPACKER FREE!
SUBSCRIBE NOW and get
2 Free Issues and 3 Free Gifts!
Full Name:
Address 1:
Address 2:
City:
State:
Zip Code:
Email: (required)
If I like it and decide to continue, I'll pay just $12.00, and receive a full one-year subscription (9 issues in all), a 73% savings off the newsstand price! If for any reason I decide not to continue, I'll write "cancel" on the invoice and owe nothing.
Your subscription includes 3 FREE downloadable booklets.
Or click here to pay now and get 2 extra issues
Offer valid in US only.


» Welcome Guest
[ Log In :: Register ]

 

[ Track This Topic :: Email This Topic :: Print this topic ]

reply to topic new topic new poll
Topic: Cedar Creek-Little Sluice Mountain Backpack-TR< Next Oldest | Next Newest >
 Post Number: 1
MRHyker Search for posts by this member.

Avatar



Group: Members
Posts: 3879
Joined: Dec. 2005
PostIcon Posted on: Apr. 21 2014, 11:35 am  Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

04-19 to 20/14 – GWNF-Cedar Creek-Little Sluice Backpack: This was our 2014 inaugural backpack. I’ve hesitated doing this hike for quite some time mainly because of the number of old logging/fire roads involved and the very steep climb up the Tuscarora Trail. (At the steepest point you gain 1000 feet of elevation over 1.7 miles.) Then I realized that probably 70-80% of the trails on the Great North Mountain wouldn’t exist if it weren’t for these roads. This plus the idea of coupling together great views from White Rocks and the southern end of Little Sluice Mountain as well as some good camping caused me to rethink my philosophy. I thought if we could quickly get the majority of the elevation gain behind us this would be a nice overnight backpack. Hardcore, Wooly Bully, Christopher Robin (and the 100 acre wood), Gumby, Treebeard and myself meet Doc and Hank (Are you ready for some football?) at the Cedar Creek Trailhead. We laced up our boots, donned our packs and began our trek.  

The first 0.5 miles was along a maintained gravel forest road. As we passed the junction with the orange blazed Bread Road Trail on the left the gravel surface stopped and little by little the woods road deteriorated into something no longer navigable by motor vehicles. In several places the drainage ditches that are supposed to aid in water removal (I think there is a technical name for them but it eludes me at the moment.) were either silted in or otherwise clogged causing the trail to become a shallow stream. It was never over our boot tops so proved to be just a minor annoyance. In another 0.8 miles we passed a small wildlife pond, an obvious breeding area for frogs. After awhile the trail veered uphill, farther away from Cedar Creek, which you really never get to see anyway, and became even more like a footpath. The tread was also dryer. In another mile or so the trail broke out onto an open and grassy campsite which apparently also serves as a turn around point for a woods road that is open to hunters in season. This is where Treebeard found what might be some kind of rare gem, a golf ball sized black glass nugget. A broken corner revealed a dark gray amorphous center. Since our resident geologist, Shortstack, was absent he decided to carry it in his pack until he could identify it. (Now you know how most ardent backpackers abhor carrying even one more additional ounce than what they have to? I’ll have more on this tidbit later.)

So after a break we continued on what is a well maintained woods road. It was really pretty nice since it was mostly dirt and surrounded by mature forest and not rutted in the least. After 1.7 easy miles we turned left onto the Tuscarora Trail and began what would be the hardest part of the outing. Initially the climb was gradual and appeared to be heading up a steep draw between Paddy and Little Sluice Mountains. (It’s the same ridge but for some reason it bears two different names. Go figure!) Just as the steepness was getting to become just a too little ridiculous the trail began switchbacking predominantly to the north and then back towards the draw. Some were steep, short and rocky while others were of a lesser gradient and longer passing through pleasant pine groves allowing the hiker to “recover” while still on the move. I caught up to the rest of the group in 1.7 miles after leaving the Cedar Creek Trail. They were taking a break at an oasis of sorts, a nice rock outcrop under a canopy of pine. I joined them for a bit grabbing a nice spot against a tree with the pine straw as a carpet. I studied the map and realized the serious climbing was all but done. We still had about 200 more feet to climb but it was spread out over a mile.











--------------
"Red is the color of the sun with my eyes closed." - Dave Matthews

Midatlantichikes.com
Offline
Top of Page Profile Contact Info WEB 
 Post Number: 2
MRHyker Search for posts by this member.

Avatar



Group: Members
Posts: 3879
Joined: Dec. 2005
PostIcon Posted on: Apr. 21 2014, 11:38 am Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

Continuing on we quickly passed the junctions of the Sulfur Spring Gap Trail and the Old Mail Path, both on the right, in quick order. It was shortly after this that I finally located the oft talked about but previously unobserved trailside spring that supposedly serves as the water source for the White Rocks campsite. It has become more obvious since some Civil Engineer-minded hikers used thin rock slabs to force it to flow through a channel making water collection easier. Just before we reached the crest of the ridge we arrived at the white blazed White Rocks Trail on the left and a fine looking campsite on the right. (I am convinced that it wasn’t here the last time I hiked in this area.) We followed the White Rocks Trail to its associated campsite and dropped our packs before scrambling up the rocks to enjoy the views. We shared it with a very nice family unit, Chris W. and his two lovely daughters. He became really excited when he realized who I was. He said that he felt guilty always using the info from my website and not being able to give anything back and asked if I would pose for a photo with him. I agreed only if he promised to file an Outing Critique. I gave his camera to Gumby and the girls joined us for the photo op. We said our adieus, recovered our packs and headed for a nice campsite at the junction with the Racer Camp Hollow and Little Sluice Trails. I had arranged the logistics such that we should arrive at camp no later than 6:00. To everyone’s surprise, I was the last one to saunter in at about 4:30.

Day 1 distance:8.8 miles
Day 1 E.G.:2100 feet









--------------
"Red is the color of the sun with my eyes closed." - Dave Matthews

Midatlantichikes.com
Offline
Top of Page Profile Contact Info WEB 
 Post Number: 3
MRHyker Search for posts by this member.

Avatar



Group: Members
Posts: 3879
Joined: Dec. 2005
PostIcon Posted on: Apr. 21 2014, 11:45 am Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

I conned Wooly Bully into hanging the bear bag line with Hardcore volunteering to help him and let Doc use my water filter in exchange for filling up my water bladder while I took one of my patented power naps. I got myself out of my tent in time to join the rest of the group for dinner and the usual fireside banter, talking about past shared and perhaps some unshared experiences. I held out until 7:45 before retiring to my tent, eager to once again get horizontal. I think everyone else did likewise by 9:00.

The cold night brought us all out of our tents early. The chill in the air caused us to break camp quickly, all eager to get warmed up through the anticipated physical exertion. We were on the trail by 8:15. The first 0.5 miles of the purple blazed Little Sluice Mountain Trail was heavily rutted and quite muddy in areas but the trail conditions greatly improved after we crossed Spruce Run. The crest of the mountain was several hundred feet above us. We encountered some gradual climbs along this section, enough to add another 500 feet of elevation gain to the hike, but we were generally walking on either almost flat or downhill grades. Maps indicated that there is a spring located about a mile from where we had camped but other hikers I’ve communicated with could not recall seeing one. Wooly Bully and I had the waypoint loaded in our Garmins and found the well established piped water source right where the USGS said it should be.

In another mile we arrived at the junction with the Bread Road Trail and another large campsite. I had been told that it frequently gets trashed but someone had done a bang up job of cleaning it up. We hid our packs behind some logs, grabbed our cameras and continued on the Little Sluice Mountain Trail, now more of a grassy lane than a woods road. We passed a few more campsites, some with nice views before arriving at a large grassy area with towering spruce trees. On the eastern edge was a large campsite with a ten foot fire ring. We continued to follow the blazes, climbing a rocky knob with an expansive view of Massanutten Mountain, the Shenandoah Valley and then the park itself. We could easily identify many of the prominent features of Massanutten Mountain including Signal Knob to the north, Kennedy Peak and Edinburg Gap nearly due east and New Market Gap to the south. We stopped at the base of Little Schloss staring up at it in awe. There is supposed to e a 90 foot rock scramble to its top with a nice view of Mill Mountain and Big Schloss to its west. Some of the gang looked for a way that would seem reasonable for a bunch of 50 and 60+ year olds and could find nothing that wouldn’t require at least ropes and rock climbing tools. An elevator would be even better. Not wanting to risk injury or exhaustion we all gave way to that wisdom only obtained after many years of life and retraced our steps back to our packs, grateful enough for the views we had observed. Most of us didn’t bring food or water with us on our little foray so we took a nice break before once again saddling up. It was here that I was inspired to give Chris (his real Christian name) his trail name so we had the usual brief “dubbing” ceremony.

The Bread Road Trail is really quite dull – a wide dirt road exposed to the sun, quickly plummeting through a series of switchbacks to the Cedar Creek Trail. I consider it more of a means to an end – a necessity to get back to the vehicles. Thankfully the drudgery ends in about a mile. We turn right onto the gravel portion of the Cedar Creek Trail and proceed to retrace our original 0.5 miles when I notice several of the crew including Treebeard picking up pieces of stone from the road, the same material as his now infamous Pet Rock. After studying the stuff more carefully I recollected a quasi-scientific article about recycling that I had read years ago. Government agencies collect glass bottles and other inorganic material, burn them to the point of melting (a process that strikes me as very energy inefficient), cools it and then mills it (another energy using process) before adding it to stone aggregate used for paving. So Treebeard’s potential gem turns out being a precursor to asphalt. I urged him to release his rock so it could reestablish itself in its natural environment (created by man) but he refuses insisting that he needed to keep it for proof … of something. I’m sorry to say I now have to file an Environmental Impact Statement with the EPA and maybe even the Sierra Club. Is there a PETA type non-profit organization for abuse of rocks?

Day 2 distance: 6.8 miles
Day 2 E.G.: 450 feet

[












--------------
"Red is the color of the sun with my eyes closed." - Dave Matthews

Midatlantichikes.com
Offline
Top of Page Profile Contact Info WEB 
 Post Number: 4
MRHyker Search for posts by this member.

Avatar



Group: Members
Posts: 3879
Joined: Dec. 2005
PostIcon Posted on: Apr. 21 2014, 11:59 am Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE





--------------
"Red is the color of the sun with my eyes closed." - Dave Matthews

Midatlantichikes.com
Offline
Top of Page Profile Contact Info WEB 
 Post Number: 5
AegisIII Search for posts by this member.

Avatar



Group: Members
Posts: 622
Joined: Jan. 2010
PostIcon Posted on: Apr. 21 2014, 10:40 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

No picture of Treebeard's mystery rock?  From the description, I was thinking slag, glassy remnants made during iron forging; and they were furnaces in the area.

--------------
--
EJS
(Ed. S)
Offline
Top of Page Profile Contact Info 
 Post Number: 6
MRHyker Search for posts by this member.

Avatar



Group: Members
Posts: 3879
Joined: Dec. 2005
PostIcon Posted on: Apr. 22 2014, 7:08 am Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

Slag would be a good description but I think it is slag from a recycle plant since we found a lot of it in the gravel on the road. Picture is supposed to be coming soon.

--------------
"Red is the color of the sun with my eyes closed." - Dave Matthews

Midatlantichikes.com
Offline
Top of Page Profile Contact Info WEB 
 Post Number: 7
MRHyker Search for posts by this member.

Avatar



Group: Members
Posts: 3879
Joined: Dec. 2005
PostIcon Posted on: Apr. 23 2014, 11:33 am Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

The Rock



--------------
"Red is the color of the sun with my eyes closed." - Dave Matthews

Midatlantichikes.com
Offline
Top of Page Profile Contact Info WEB 
 Post Number: 8
MRHyker Search for posts by this member.

Avatar



Group: Members
Posts: 3879
Joined: Dec. 2005
PostIcon Posted on: Apr. 24 2014, 12:11 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

The details are now posted on my site.

--------------
"Red is the color of the sun with my eyes closed." - Dave Matthews

Midatlantichikes.com
Offline
Top of Page Profile Contact Info WEB 
 Post Number: 9
AegisIII Search for posts by this member.

Avatar



Group: Members
Posts: 622
Joined: Jan. 2010
PostIcon Posted on: Apr. 24 2014, 10:37 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic.  Ignore posts   QUOTE

Looks similar to my Michaux slag, though I'd say mine is dark with perhaps the slightest green hue.  Some smooth, curved surfaces, plus some edges of assorted obtuse angles which have not become rather worn.  Of course, I have Blue Ridge/South Mountain slag and his is Valley and Ridge slag, so there could be some differences.  But if I were a betting man, and I'm not, I'd suspect both are from the iron furnaces.

--------------
--
EJS
(Ed. S)
Offline
Top of Page Profile Contact Info 
8 replies since Apr. 21 2014, 11:35 am < Next Oldest | Next Newest >

[ Track This Topic :: Email This Topic :: Print this topic ]


 
reply to topic new topic new poll

» Quick Reply Cedar Creek-Little Sluice Mountain Backpack-TR
iB Code Buttons
You are posting as:

Do you wish to enable your signature for this post?
Do you wish to enable emoticons for this post?
Track this topic
View All Emoticons
View iB Code



Get 2 FREE Trial Issues and 3 FREE GIFTS
Survival Skills 101 • Eat Better
The Best Trails in America
YES! Please send me my FREE trial issues of Backpacker
and my 3 FREE downloadable booklets.
Full Name:
City:
Address 1:
Zip Code:
State:
Address 2:
Email (required):
Free trial offer valid for US subscribers only. Canadian subscriptions | International subscriptions