October 2016: Birkhead Mountain Wilderness

Due to a late start from work (darn deadlines!) I decided to bail on trying to reach the Virginia mountains (a 3-4 hour drive) and detoured to a local favorite – the Uwharrie Mountains just over an hour from work. No pictures from the start of the trip as I was booking it to make sure I woke up in one of my favorite quiet spots in the woods…a small campsite by a rock fall with a great flat camping area and a neat rock formation nearby for a kitchen.

After a stressful week at work, there is no better cure than waking up in familiar surroundings…tent, bag, and coffee!

I was in no rush this weekend, so cooked up some bannock with cheese for a hearty breakfast and enjoyed the warming sun.

The great thing about the Uwharries is the easy climbs and ability to bush wack without major issues.  I decided to explore a couple of “corners” I haven’t been to before.  I found a couple of old ruins I hadn’t seen before…

And some interesting sights as usual. It’s the little things that sometimes intrigue me like this tree “reaching out” to hold on to a stream bank…

The weather was fantastic…sunny and 50’s during the day and down to freezing at night.  Just had to throw on the windshirt at lunch to keep just the right core temp.

And cook up my usual cold weather lunch – vegetable soup with a chunk of Ramen thrown in.

Then an afternoon trek off the trail and a few more interesting distractions… including careful steps with acorns all over the trail, and falling occasionally on my head!

Some old favorites…this one always makes me think rock beats scissors but tree beats rock!

And this old tree is always nice to see on my favorite “unofficial” trail.

Shrooms were out in force this time of year…

There aren’t many views until winter in this area, so its always worth a side trip to the few outcrops…

The last day included a few more old chimneys and old gold mine tailings that are scattered through the Uwharries.

After a great weekend I passed my normal landmark of a small rock outcrop on the way out.

The only negative of a restful weekend, I had to reroute and double back in order to find water.  For those wondering how dry NC is this year with all the wildfires, the photo below is a stream crossing that is usually about 10 ft wide which I have only seen dry one other time in 20 years.

Despite this setback, it was a great and relaxing trip in my wilderness “back yard”.  If you are local to the Uwharrie National Forest, and especially the Birkhead Mountain Wilderness, I suggest you give it a whirl.  Nothing special in terms of views, but it makes for a nice little playground to relax and do a few gear tests…stay tuned!

Backpacking reviews, trips, and random thoughts