GET section 2c Trail Report

March 20, 2010

US 48/VA & WV 55 to CR 16 (Capon Springs Road) (7.4 miles)
     This section is on the Tuscarora Trail (parts of Sections 16 & 17), and is section 2c of the Great Eastern Trail.  It follows North Mountain for almost 2 miles, then turns west, passing Hawk Campground and Hawk Run.  Most of this distance is on forest roads.  It was a clear, warm day.  With me were my hiking partner David and my dog Sid.  I forgot my camera, but David had one which I used.  All snow had melted on the trail, but we saw some piles along the road at Capon Springs. 
     Some observations: 

  • VA 609 leads to Capon Springs from the east.  It is a gravel road, but reasonably good driving--I plan to change the shuttle route for this section, as this way is shorter.  Both in Virginia (as VA 609) and West Virginia (CR 16) it is called Capon Springs Road.  There were just a few spots that had washed out from the winter runoff, and they were a bit rough, but I expect them to be temporary, and they were not real obstacles, anyway.  
  • It appears that US 48 does not extend into West Virginia.  
  • The spot where the Tuscarora Trail crosses Capon Springs Road is hard to find--we drove by it the first try.  There are lots of houses by this road, but there is a section of woods and steep bank on the south side of the road, and the Trail crosses near the east end of this.  There is a gravel driveway going into the woods on the south side, which has a turn around area and space for two or three cars before reaching the closed gate.  The Tuscarora Trail follows this road uphill, through private property.  (This is where we ended the hike.)  On the other side, the Trail crosses a driveway bridge and goes by a house.  I didn't investigate this, as I plan to follow this on another hike.  
  • The VA/WV 55 crossing is easy to find--it is on the State Line, at the top of a hill, there's plenty of parking near there, and there is a "Tuscarora Trail" sign.  
  • The southern part of this section on North Mountain is rocky in places, with occasional views to the east.  Places are ingrown with scrub oak and greenbrier.  The scrub oak doesn't look like it has been cut back for at least two years.  The greenbrier seems to have been cut about knee level over a broad area.  Little preventive thinking seems to have been done here.  
  • Parts west of North Mountain had soggy spots, but not a very high percentage.  Much of this section goes from forest road to forest road, but the blazes are easy to follow.  
  • We did miss the trail at one point, though.  We had lunch at Hawk picnic area.  The Tuscarora Trail used to go right through the picnic area, then cross the Hawk Road twice after that.  We went that way.  We thought the blazes here looked faded.  Then we reached the new Trail with its blue blazes--between the two Hawk Road crossings.  We backtracked on the part we missed to see our mistake.  The Trail had not crossed the Hawk Road at the entrance of the Hawk Campground (this part is a constructed foot trail, which has been built since early Trail Guides).  
  • A few places along the Trail I would describe a little differently than the current Tuscarora Trail Guidebook.  I plan to make these changes in the GET Guidebook.  
  • As we got to Hawk Run, but before we crossed it, there was a large White Pine that had fallen over the Trail that we had to climb up the hill to get around.  
  • Hawk Run was running high, and there were few rocks to step on that were out of the water.  I made it across the first of three crossings dry-footed, but stayed on the other side to avoid the other crossings. 

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