GET Section 2a Trail Report

April 23, 2016

Tuscarora Trail, Back Creek Road to Dry Gap
         The Tuscarora Trail has been relocated onto the crest of North Mountain, which changes the dividing of trail segments.  Now Section 2 has 2 parts: 2a - US 50 to Dry Gap (Capon Springs Road) and 2b - Dry Gap to US 48/SR 55.  2a is a long segment, while 2b is rather short. 
         The old Tuscarora Trail from the ridge crest by Lucas Woods is now blazed white.  Below Lucas Woods is still blazed blue. 
        The new trail along the ridge is fairly well cleared north of the power line.  It is difficult to follow across the power line--look for blazes on the towers (down low), then look for the trail entering the woods on the crest of the ridge.  South of the power line the trail is not as well cleared, somewhat grown in.  Then at a high point just north of an antenna which is just north of Eagle Rock, the trail becomes much wider and well cleared, from there to Dry Gap. 
        There is a GET sign as you go north from Dry Gap.  There is no sign pointing to Lucas Woods Camp. 

September 5, 2011

Tuscarora Trail, Gore to Biby Trail, about 6 miles
        This is part of GET section 2a.  It was a day threatening to rain, which it did more toward the end of the hike.  With me on this hike were David Frye, Nancy Ruggles, and Mary Huffer, plus my dog Sid and Nancy's dog Aslan. 
        We started out from US 50 heading south.  It starts out beside a corn field, with some stalks coming down into the trail.  At 0.3 mile we came to the crossing of Back Creek, which was high and muddy from recent rains.  I decided we couldn't get across safely, so we did the backup plan of starting on the Gore Connector Trail.  From Gore we drove on VA 853 to where the blazes left the road and parked there.  We started on the trail and before long came to the Barclay Run campsite.  The shelter has been started, but is not complete, and has no roof yet.  Fortunately, there is a pavilion with a picnic table, which was needed as things were otherwise wet, and it was lunch time. 
        The trail continues on the west side of Great North Mountain, climbing rather gradually, and playing tag with an access road (to various hunters' cabins).  Most of the time, it was uphill (left) of the road, but it went off to the right at some point we missed, and we found it crossing the road for the last time before we realized we had missed the trail.  From there on for several miles the trail was uphill but within sight of the road.  The trail is quite rocky, which was somewhat treacherous in the wet conditions.  Fortunately no one slipped, except Sid, who didn't seem to be bothered by it--he has 4 feet. 
        The trail is fairly clear from growth, although it is in need of overseers (advertised in the Potomac Appalachian, PATC's publication). 
        The final part of the hike was up the Biby Trail.  The upper part has been graded, while the lower part remains ungraded, but easy to follow.  There is a place where the graded part continues, but it is not open. 

March 19, 2011

Biby Trail to Back Creek Road
      This is a 7.2 mile segment of the Tuscarora Trail plus the approach on the Biby Trail from Shawnee Land, part of the Great Eastern Trail, the south part of Section 2a.  This section includes Laurel Run Falls, Pinnacles Shelter, Pinnacles Rock Cave Trail, and Lucas Woods Campsite.  With me on this hike were David Frye and my dog Sid. 
      The start of the hike was where we finished on our January 15 hike, and we drove north to Gore, east and south then up in Shawnee Land to the top of Great North Mountain.  Most of those roads are paved.  We had to search for the Biby Trailhead, which has neither parking area nor sign, although it is not too hard to find, and there is room to park beside the road. 
      The Biby Trail is supposed to be 1.0 mile long, but we made it down in 20 minutes with some delays, so I think it is shorter.  It is being graded, and the job is not yet complete—just the upper half is done.  There were a few holes where it looks like rocks were dug out for trail construction. 
      Some observations on the Tuscarora/GET:

  • The trail is well graded, and not much grown in. 
  • There is a huge blowdown just south of the Biby Trail.  A large tree fell with the top covering the Trail.  We had to go way off trail to get around it. 
  • The Trail goes uphill as it nears Laurel Creek, and continues up passing Pinnacles Shelter on up to the Pinnacle (rocks and rock cave).  After that it passes the Pinnacles campsite, and a powerline.  After that, it goes a ways along the top of Great North Mountain, which is a very nice section of trail. 
  • Pinnacles Shelter site is really nice with a large porch plus a pavilion for a picnic table, a privy, and fire place.  The register notebook, though, has many pages torn out, the entries are sparse (child-written entries may take up a whole page, even though there would have been room for more).  Many entries are little more than obscenities (this happens at AT shelters, but usually there’s some explanation why). 
  • There are good views from the top of the rocks at Pinnacles, and the Rock Cave Trail is interesting, and a challenge to my dog.  The rock cave was not quite as big as I expected.  I could crawl in, but the entrance is off the ground a ways, and my dog could not get in, though if he had, he could have gotten through.  The biggest trail challenge is just south of the rock cave, where it looks like there's no trail, just rocks, but there are some blazes. 
  • There are several different paths in the Pinnacles area, and 3 ATVs pulled up while we were there.  The occupants did not drive on the Tuscarora Trail, and were nice to talk to.  Trails approach from Shawnee Land, and from the scout camp at Rock Enon. 
  • We found the Frye Path, which starts at the Powerline crossing.  For a historical path, it is evident only by the signs and blazes--the path is very faint. 
  • There are a number of blowdowns along the Trail on the crest of the mountain, and on the upper descent.  We cleared away some, and the ones remaining are easy to step over. 
  • I saw the ribbons for the planned relocation of the Tuscarora, which will continue along Great North Mountain.  The descent to the west is fairly steep. 
  • We passed a point where a trail crossed the Tuscarora and there was a question whether it was the one going to Lucas Woods Campsite--it wasn't.  That trail is signed, and it has a sign-in notebook at the intersection. 
  • Lucas Woods Campsite is 0.2 mile off the Tuscarora, on the same level as the trail intersection. 
  • Below Lucas Woods, the Trail follows a dirt/gravel road which serves multiple properties.  It crosses some creeks and at this time there were muddy spots. 


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