Monday, April 12, 2010

Old Settlers Trail

Another hike along Old Settlers Trail, 4.11.10. We've hiked the area from both sides but I'm on a terrain covering spree and trying to connect up some loose ends. The goal was to travel from the trailhead in Greenbrier to the Soak Ash Creek area where a short trail meets coming from Steiner Bell Lodge. Distance was somewhere around 5.5 miles.

It was a fantastic day with a cool start and crystal clear weather. Spring growth is beginning to thrive, though I perceived the terrain to be dry while creeks were running a little high probably due to end of the snow melt.

Nice views as you work your way up the ridge.

Yellow trilliums are in bloom.... are trout lilies.

Ferns are spreading their fronds.

Down low along the creeks is becoming lush and green.

Higher up along Copeland Divide things are slower to sprout.

Trail winds upward through a moss-lined tunnel of rhododendron and mountain laurel.
Crossing Copeland Creek and Snakefeeder several chimneys can be seen. Many homesites were along the length of the OST.

Now the trail parallels Snakefeeder Branch.....

...and heads into Soak Ash, which is a remarkably flat and pretty area.

We reach the junction & goal. The trail behind the sign leads up to Steiner Bell Lodge (somebody has noted on back of sign). To the right (east), OST leads to Campsite 33 around 1 mile away, then after that and about 16 miles you'd reach the Cosby campground area.
We turned back the way we came.

Back between the Bird creeks we encountered a 3 foot black rat snake in the middle of the trail. It kinda 'hid' in the shadow of a tree before moving back into the warm sunshine as we continued on.

Our hike was about 11 miles roundtrip and took 5 hours, and we encountered 2 backpackers and 2 dayhikers going out as we came back.

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