In Praise of Little East Fork!
With more daylight, this “early summer” in spring has been great! I took advantage of it recently to get in a late afternoon ride to one of my favorite locales in Haywood County – Little East Fork. I parked at “Bicycle Friendly Business” Bethel Grocery Store and enjoyed a pleasant spin up Lake Logan Road. Traffic was pretty light going in my direction and what traffic there was graciously shared the road.
The ride up Lake Logan Road is mostly river grade and, while it wasn’t a steep grade, it was still “up.” Once I turned onto Little East Fork, the grade increased fairly quickly and my heart rate and exertion level matched the increase. Riding along, the Little East Fork was seemingly full and rushing to remove the run-off from two nights of rain.
The spring colors of Yellow Belles and other plants made for very pleasing scenery and helped to remind me of what a beautiful place in which we are lucky enough to live.
After crossing the first bridge and proceeding onward and upward, the valley eventually opens up into some great grazing land and the domesticated animals looked pretty well content. Further along the ride, I reached the short section of the Pisgah Camping Club that aligns both sides of the road with their reduced speed limit. Typically, I’ll see some campers out walking or working in their yards. On this trip, I didn’t spot a single individual.
The road eventually brought me to a short moderate climb just short of Camp Daniel Boone’s entrance. I recalled the many fall colors from last year’s ride along this spot and how the round silo of the old barn was so pretty. On this day, the spring colors lent a different level of beauty to the old building. As I was still feeling pretty energetic and not ready for my ride to end, I pedaled on up to Camp Daniel Boone, site of many fond memories from my youth. The camp was deserted except for a couple of fishermen working the trout. At this point, I experienced what is perhaps a not so good sign for the coming year. The gnats were out and about and quite irritating as they attempted to invade my nose and mouth. The time for movement was upon me.
It was time to enjoy the other side of “what goes up, must go down.” My “gnat-driven descent” home was extremely enjoyable. I did stop to move a groundhog that had failed miserably in his or her attempt to cross the road. The poor critter was laid out in a blind curve and posed a threat to another cyclist or motorcyclist’s tire should meet the carcass.
The only downside to this ride was noting all of the litter that piles up along the roadways. Somehow, empty laundry detergent bottles, old cardboard, plastic bags in trees, and the occasional old tire simply aren’t as pretty as Trout Lily, Bloodroot, and Yellow Belles. A good “spring cleaning” of our roads and creek beds would seem to be in order.
For more information, visit http://gr8smokieszeke.blogspot.com and www.bicyclehaywoodnc.org or link to Zeke’s Great Smoky Mountain 2 Wheeled Adventures under Opinion on the Mountaineer’s website.