Tuesday, November 29, 2016

2016-11-25 Black Friday Hike with Brenda

Moonshine followed by Confusion
A Black Friday Hike with Brenda
Mountain Bridge Wilderness, SC
Friday, November 25th, 2016

Brenda and Me at Moonshine Falls

For many people, Black Friday is all about shopping, crowds of humans, and traffic hell!  For me it is about exactly the opposite!  It is about getting outside far far away from all the crowds, shopping malls, and all the other holiday craziness!  For my annual Black Friday Adventure, I try to pick a hike where it is highly unlikely that you will run across another person!

Brenda suggested scoping out an alternate bushwhack route down to Moonshine Falls and Confusion Falls.  This sounded great to me since it has been over 10 years since my list visit.  We knew the water flow would be abysmal, but we figured these two falls might look good under much lower than normal flow.

Our meet up spot was a few miles down the Mountain from the Caesars Head overlook so I arrived early enough to make the obligatory overlook stop.  I was surprised that there was still some nice fall color left!
The Caesars Head Overlook

 Some nice Fall Color from the Caesars Head Overlook

I met up with Brenda and we started our bushwhack down from US276. 

Here is the GPS Track of our day.
GPS Track

We basically started out heading west across the ridge line.  The forest is fairly open making for some easy bushwhacking.  Eventually we started downhill and spotted a steel cable tied to some trees. Upon closer inspection this turned out to be a trail with the cables being makeshift hand rails for the steep sections.

 Steel Cable along the mystery trail  (photo by Brenda)

There were even some very obvious blazes on many of the trees
Overlook Trail  ??????

Both of us are very familiar with all the trails in the Mountain Bridge Wilderness, but neither of us had ever heard of The Overlook Trail.  And the blaze is not like any other trail blaze in the area.  We guessed that it either was coming from the Asbury Hills Camp or the Bald Rock Community.

We followed it downhill for a short distance, but it was not heading in the direction we wanted to go, so we left the trail and continued our bushwhack downhill.  Hopefully we would have time to solve the mysteries of this trail later in the day.

As far as bushwhacks go, this one is pretty easy.  As long as you know how to navigate off trail, working your way down the mountain towards Moonshine Falls should not be an issue.

Eventually we made it to the old logging road and followed that to the Moonshine Falls Spur Trail.

As expected, Moonshine Falls had less water than either of us had ever seen, but it was still rather photogenic.
Moonshine Falls

 Brenda at Moonshine Falls

Brenda filling her bottle with Moonshine!

Moonshine Falls

Moonshine Falls
I wonder how this one got its name?

Brenda at Moonshine Falls

From Moonshine Falls we continued downstream to Confusion Falls on river right.  This turned out to be the most difficult part of the entire day.  However, by utilizing the Brenda Butt Slide Method we were both able to make it to the base of Confusion Falls without any issues

Instead of heading back the way we came, we climbed up the side of the bank on river left to get back upstream.   Neither side is easy, but this was was definitely the shorter route to return back to the old logging road.

We followed a similar, but not exactly the same bushwhack route back up the mountain.  When we reach the mystery Overlook Trail that we stumbled across earlier in the day I wanted to find out where it went. 

Brenda and I decided to split up.  I would follow the trail downhill to the south, while Brenda would continue up hill.

After about a half mile, one of my earlier guesses proved to be correct.  This "Overlook" trail originates from the Bald Rock Community (The bottom loop of the GPS Track posted above).

Mystery solved!  Now to see what is on the other end!

view from the Overlook at the end of The Overlook Trail

 A zoomed in through the trees view of the Pinnacle Mountain Forest Fire

The last of the Fall Color - from the end of the Overlook Trail

From here it was a short bushwhack back up to our starting point.  I was able to catch up with Brenda just as we arrived back at our vehicles parked along the shoulder of US276.

It was a beautiful day to be outside!  Far more enjoyable than any Black Friday Shopping!

My complete set of photos is posted here:

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