Page 1 of 2 1 2 LastLast
Results 1 to 25 of 30
  1. #1
    mtbr member
    Reputation: plume's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2006
    Posts
    1,532

    Yellow Jackets in Pisgah!

    Wow, I've never seen so many nests in all my life. I was riding Laurel Mountain for the first time (by myself, stupid I know) and got near the top when I felt what I hoped was a deer fly bite. Unfortunately it was a yellow jacket. First one got me on my leg, ok no big deal. Then I hear one buzzing crazily but I couldn't tell where it was, suddenly I looked down and he's right there on my chest trying to sting me. Thank god he couldn't get his stinger through my jersey, the way I was standing created some space between my skin and the jersey, I swatted him away. It's at this point when I realize there's a sh*t load of them and I must've run through the nest w/o realizing it. I'm screwed. I'm in a very technical section and my only option is to try and ride down the mountain I just climbed. If you're familiar w/ said trail you know some of it's hike a bike, or freerding material (it was for me at least) and not the best terrain for my XC hardtail bike at all. But I had no choice but to point my bike down the slippery boulders and make a dash for it. I did ok through the first section (I saw the nest, YIKES) but then I went ass over tea cup on the next section bruising my elbow pretty bad. I escaped w/ only 5 stings and luckily I'm not severly allergic. I just heard that someone had a very bad reaction to a single sting, so I got a little nervous...

    Don't panic stay calm. You're 8 miles from your car in the middle of Pisgah. Just pray that you don't get an allergic reaction and you'll be ok. I did get a little panicy but I made it back in one piece. This is the second or third time I've gotten in over my head. I love riding solo but I'm done doing it in Pisgah. At least until I know the terrain a lot better. It's a little frustrating because the National Geographic map is good, but sometimes you just need a guide. There was more than one time when the trail splits off to some unmarked trail. I mean, what do you do? I think I could have made a really nice ride out of this had I known where the F I was at times.

    Something else I've noticed riding mountain bikes around here, it seems the trails are either super easy, Bent Creek, or super, super hard, um the rest of Pisgah? Am I alone w/ this one? Looking forward to finding my way around though....

  2. #2
    suspension wrench
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Jan 2005
    Posts
    191
    The bees have never been so bad, I don't what it is about this year. I read about all the people on this board getting stung, but I didn't believe it until I went out and got one myself (also on Laural Mtn). First time in 5 years and who knows how many miles of riding in Pisgah. There are at least two BIG ground nests on Laural right now. Maybe we should post a sign at the trailhead or something. Wonder if anyone has notified the FS?

    As far as the difficulty of Pisgah trails...just be patient and you'll find less difficult spots. You said you have the good map, but do you have any of the guide books? Jim Parnham's book is pretty good (IF you have the map too!) The two together is how I learned the area when I first got here. The books will have less technical loops. There is lots of stuff that falls between Bent Creek and Laural/Pilot. The Mills River area is a good spot for medium tech. Have you tried Spencer Branch, Trace Ridge, Fletcher Creek, Middle Fork, or Bear Branch? Also, down by the Hatchery, the Caney Bottom loop is super fun and a little less gnarly.

    On the bright side, if you keep riding, you will find that Pisgah will make you a better rider!!

  3. #3
    mtbr member
    Reputation: plume's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2006
    Posts
    1,532
    Quote Originally Posted by mike r
    The bees have never been so bad, I don't what it is about this year. I read about all the people on this board getting stung, but I didn't believe it until I went out and got one myself (also on Laural Mtn). First time in 5 years and who knows how many miles of riding in Pisgah. There are at least two BIG ground nests on Laural right now. Maybe we should post a sign at the trailhead or something. Wonder if anyone has notified the FS?

    As far as the difficulty of Pisgah trails...just be patient and you'll find less difficult spots. You said you have the good map, but do you have any of the guide books? Jim Parnham's book is pretty good (IF you have the map too!) The two together is how I learned the area when I first got here. The books will have less technical loops. There is lots of stuff that falls between Bent Creek and Laural/Pilot. The Mills River area is a good spot for medium tech. Have you tried Spencer Branch, Trace Ridge, Fletcher Creek, Middle Fork, or Bear Branch? Also, down by the Hatchery, the Caney Bottom loop is super fun and a little less gnarly.

    On the bright side, if you keep riding, you will find that Pisgah will make you a better rider!!

    A sign would be a wonderful idea. I thought of it after the fact.

    My friend also suggested to try the guide books, I have one but it seemed really outdated, I'll have to find it to see which one it is. I have ridden Spencer Branch and Trace now, they're really fun. I like parking at BC and ridding up to the parkway and then bombing down Trace. I'd like to think of myself as a fairly technical rider but I noticed that after a few months of only riding in BC (major time constraints, didn't have time to piece together 5 hours to ride) I'm losing it. I just went back to visit my home town in upstate NY and I figured I'd kick ass on those trails now. Not so. All that stuff is way more technical than BC so I even struggled there. I made the conclusion that I need to venture out a bit more and start learning Pisgah.

    The thing about riding solo out there is that I ride very conservatively as there's just very few other trail users around. I'll walk things that I'm pretty sure I could ride but the penalty for failure is a broken bone or worse. Not worth it. I would have been fine yesterday minus the yellow jacket incident.

    So a few questions for you or anyone else for that matter. Is the Laurel Mountain connector marked by a trail sign? I noticed a trail that seemed like it would be that connector but it wasn't marked, just a pile of rocks that usually indicates something unofficial. Obviously I was trying to loop to Pilot Rock then back to the road, I just did an out and back instead after getting stung. How does Kitsuma rate compared to these N. Mills river trails? I'm thinking that's gotta be next on the agenda. Do I need a map out there, or is it really just one loop?

    thanks for reading the new guys post!

  4. #4
    pronounced may-duh
    Reputation: Maida7's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2005
    Posts
    4,309
    Quote Originally Posted by mike r
    The bees have never been so bad, I don't what it is about this year.
    A local farmer told me earlier in the summer when it was super hot that it meant we would have lots of bees. I thought it was just one of those old framer legends. I guess he was right.

  5. #5
    mtbr member
    Reputation: Futurepath's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2004
    Posts
    194

    Thank You Sooooo Much For This Info!

    A friend and myself are driving down the weekend before the 24 Hours of Pisgah (Sunday - Wednesday) to camp and ride, then returning home where I'm picking my wife up and driving back down Thursday for the 24 Hours of Pisgah, and staying till Tuesday. Dedication or love driving to Pisgah?! From WV.

    If anyone wants to hook-up and ride give me a shout at futurepath@lycos.com
    We'll be riding with some local friends so it should be a fairly large group.

    Anyhow, my buddy and I were planning to ride Laurel until I saw this post. I've been to Pisgah many times and knew the dangers (yellowjackets) of Laurel. I'm a bit allergic after a few stings. Again, thanks for posting this info!

  6. #6
    drunken pirate
    Reputation: driftwood's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2005
    Posts
    1,414
    I did a solo Laurel Mtn to Squirrel Gap loop last Wednesday. I didn't make one of the first switchbacks coming down Pilot Rock and was going to stop to take in the view when I spotted a nest hanging in a tree just in front of me so decided to just keep on going . Then as I was climbing up 5018 I thought I'd try and grab backberries off the vines as I slowly rolled past and in the process I pissed off a nice sized timber rattler who was sunning right in my path - that really kicked my heart rate up a notch. And then on Squirrel Gap I went down hard - bruised some ribs, thought I may have fractured my pelvis. I was deep into the ride and got a little scared but I was able to stand and peddle and I know the trails well so I stayed calm and tried not to panic and got myself back to my truck without further incident. Just another day in Pisgah

    I do a lot of long solo rides and just try and be prepared for whatever may happen. I carry a lot of gear I never use, just in case. I also know the trails and my abilities and ride within them. Crashes still happen but being prepared for anything helps.

    To answer your questions:
    The Laurel Mtn. Connector is not marked. There is a log there but the easiest way to know if you made it is if you find yourself surrounded by moss covered rocks you have gone too far. It is at the top of the final hike a bike. The pile of stones you saw was probably the marker for the unofficial Cairns trail at Johnson Gap that links up with Slate Rock Trail - it is still a good bit away from the Laurel Mtn. connector.

    Kitsuma is a fun trail. A little eroded and damp in places, fast with some technical spots but a fun ride. You can do it without a map, but the map could help especially the first time you ride it.

    I'll be riding Pisgah Wednesday and Thursday this week, if you got some time and want to ride drop me a line

  7. #7
    white boy extraordinaire
    Reputation: cmweldon's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2004
    Posts
    241

    When I moved there...

    Plume,

    When I moved to the area I did a ton of riding by myself but I made sure to do trails that weren't the most technical or extremely remote. I know this can be challenging considering the excellent singletrack out there. As soon as I had some buds to go with I started doing the more challenging stuff (LAUREL, Black Mountain, Squirrel Gap, etc). I think there is plenty of stuff to do w/o going big and having a blast.

    If you are having a problem with trail descriptions and anticipating the severity of the challenge, I would recommend a couple of resources. 1) Mountain biking north carolina by tim muth (sp?). His descriptions help gauge what is out there and give some interesting loop options. His bent creek stuff is horribly outdated and I think there are some great trails missing in others area too, but nonetheless a helpful reference for me when I first moved here. 2.) www.mtbikewnc.com. Jordan has provided a great compilation of rides based on difficulty and gives some good trail descriptions. This was a very great resource for me as well.

    I hope that helps. With dupont, bent creek, most of the fish hatchery area, kitsuma, tsali, fontana and trace ridge trailhead you should have plenty to ride without getting over your head. I obviously don't know your ability but I was a regular at these places until I had some buds to ride with. Sadly, a lot of riding accidents occur when your guard is down but the remoteness and challenging terrain of a number of spots in pisgah can quickly exacerbate a tough situation and those are the ones i tried to avoid.

    Hope that helps,

    Corey
    "Hey, hey, careful man! There's a beverage here!"

    -the Dude

  8. #8
    mtbr member
    Reputation: litespeedchick's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2004
    Posts
    1,087
    Friggin' Yellow Jackets! After getting one on the butt and one on the arm and crashing from all the swatting I was trying to do (Black Mountain between Maxwell Cove and Thrift Cove)...i didn't think it would get worse.

    Until one got me in the neck (on Fletcher Creek). I recommend that everyone try their best not to get stung on the neck. It really, really sucks. I could feel it throb every time my left food hit the ground...even the next day. Caused all kinds of brachial nueralgia that bothered me for a couple more days.

    People on the Roadie forum are *****ing about yellow jackets this year, as well.

  9. #9
    mtbr member
    Reputation: Gaston Gagne's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2004
    Posts
    57
    My old school Burke County neighbor says that the drought lets them build nests underground. Those are the ones that get you.

    We found a hollow tree with a hundred or so big @ss hornets. It was on FR 118 below Table Rock. Almost all the way to the Back Creek end as opposed to the FR 99 end. I always thought that they were solitary creatures, but this sure looked like a colony. Those things make a yellow jacket sting look like a joke.

  10. #10
    mtbr member
    Reputation: plume's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2006
    Posts
    1,532
    Quote Originally Posted by driftwood
    I did a solo Laurel Mtn to Squirrel Gap loop last Wednesday. I didn't make one of the first switchbacks coming down Pilot Rock and was going to stop to take in the view when I spotted a nest hanging in a tree just in front of me so decided to just keep on going . Then as I was climbing up 5018 I thought I'd try and grab backberries off the vines as I slowly rolled past and in the process I pissed off a nice sized timber rattler who was sunning right in my path - that really kicked my heart rate up a notch. And then on Squirrel Gap I went down hard - bruised some ribs, thought I may have fractured my pelvis. I was deep into the ride and got a little scared but I was able to stand and peddle and I know the trails well so I stayed calm and tried not to panic and got myself back to my truck without further incident. Just another day in Pisgah

    I do a lot of long solo rides and just try and be prepared for whatever may happen. I carry a lot of gear I never use, just in case. I also know the trails and my abilities and ride within them. Crashes still happen but being prepared for anything helps.

    To answer your questions:
    The Laurel Mtn. Connector is not marked. There is a log there but the easiest way to know if you made it is if you find yourself surrounded by moss covered rocks you have gone too far. It is at the top of the final hike a bike. The pile of stones you saw was probably the marker for the unofficial Cairns trail at Johnson Gap that links up with Slate Rock Trail - it is still a good bit away from the Laurel Mtn. connector.

    Kitsuma is a fun trail. A little eroded and damp in places, fast with some technical spots but a fun ride. You can do it without a map, but the map could help especially the first time you ride it.

    I'll be riding Pisgah Wednesday and Thursday this week, if you got some time and want to ride drop me a line
    To be honest I think just having the familiarity of the trail system you're on helps the most. Not knowing exactly where you are can be very frustrating especially when **** happens deep in the woods 8 miles from your car. You know I'm used to riding in more populated areas so when I came here it was a bit of a shock (don't really know what I was really expecting, duh!) to be riding alone in the middle of Pisgah. I like riding solo but some of that stuff out there is just really intense and it's very easy to second guess yourself. You throw in a crash and you lose even more confidence, it's unerving.

    I'm a good rider, but I'm only on hardtails at this point and some of the terrain here really, really, really warrants a bigger bike I think. I was never really interested in getting one until I started riding some of the more technical stuff here. It's very hard riding smooth on trails like Laurel and Big Creek - it's an eye opener for sure.

    As far as the connector trail, I thought I was almost near the parkway when I got stung and turned around. According to the map Laurel Mt is a little over 7 miles, is that accurate? I was bummed out that I had to do an out and back and not a loop, but I was panicked. I'll do it again and complete the loop at some point, maybe a little later in the season when there's less yellow jackets. Hows that other connector trail? Would that make a good loop?

    Well this week I can't ride on Wed, and Thur is a group ride at BC. Fridays and Sundays are my days to go big, and I need to at some point again. gotta get back on that horse.

    thanks for all the advice guys. I'll make some of my local riding buddies take me out eventually, it's tough lining up scheduels.

  11. #11
    mtbr member
    Reputation: Mike Brown's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2004
    Posts
    2,947
    Plume- I'm going to ride a lot this upcoming weekend, maybe even doing an overnighter. Email me if interested- mikemtnbike@netzero.net
    Mike B

  12. #12
    mtbr member
    Reputation: Reignman's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Posts
    149
    driftwood I believe the cairns marking the unofficial trail down to Slate would be at Good Enough Gap.

  13. #13
    drunken pirate
    Reputation: driftwood's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2005
    Posts
    1,414
    Quote Originally Posted by Reignman
    driftwood I believe the cairns marking the unofficial trail down to Slate would be at Good Enough Gap.
    I've been wrong before, but I'm pretty sure Cairns is at Johnson Gap. It is before the Sassafras connector to Big Creek, right?

    On the subject of stinging insects I spotted a very large underground nest on Black Mtn. between Buckhorn and Club Gaps this afternoon. It looked like a rock guarding the entrance had been recently disturbed and they were pissed...

  14. #14
    OB1
    OB1 is offline
    mtbr member
    Reputation: OB1's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2006
    Posts
    212
    I heard if you don't shower, avoid deodorant, or just plain stink.... yellow jackets will avoid you. So next time invite me along, and stay close.

  15. #15
    Ride On...
    Reputation: Killer B's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2003
    Posts
    37
    You will see a pile of rocks about 5 1/2 miles out Laurel Mtn. trail that will mark a trail leading down off to the left. this trail connects to the upper middle of the Slate/Pilot loop. It's so steep about 1/2 way down, that I can't stay on my bike... Wrecked twice trying to anyway.

    () Life's Short, Enjoy The Ride... ()

  16. #16
    Lazy People Suck
    Reputation: Fett's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2004
    Posts
    705
    We had a little run in with the yellow jackets on Sunday on the Laurel Mountain Trail at a large rock outcropping where it is somewhat difficult to squeeze through. We were stung 33 times between the 5 of us. One of the guys was allergic and left his epipen in the car, but had some Benadryl with him and it kept him ok until we got back at the end of the ride.
    "Son, The world needs ditchdiggers, too"-Ted Knight, Caddyshack

  17. #17
    mtbr member
    Reputation: PimpCane's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2006
    Posts
    77
    We had two people get it at Bent Creek yesterday. It was in a newspaper I read that the post office told mail carriers to put dryer sheets in their pockets to keep yellow jackets away. I am going to give that a try on my next few rides and see if it helps.

  18. #18
    Drinker w/ Riding Problem
    Reputation: brado1's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2004
    Posts
    5,342
    Quote Originally Posted by PimpCane
    We had two people get it at Bent Creek yesterday. It was in a newspaper I read that the post office told mail carriers to put dryer sheets in their pockets to keep yellow jackets away. I am going to give that a try on my next few rides and see if it helps.
    Dryer sheets thats funny...Yellowjackets will sting no matter what you have on bug replant, perfumes, dryer sheets....it's pure instinct for them to attack anything (no matter the size,shape or smell) they feel is the threat to the colony...

    a few years back me and a buddy were doing a ride with trail work the sun had just gone down and Rafael decided to do just one last bit of work set the bike down, and proceeded to start hacking a low hanging limb. Well the next thing i hear is screamin, and a whole lotta "oh Sh!ts", i thought he had hit himself with the machete. I was able to get my bike and start riding out, he wasn't so lucky, so after about 45 mins of trying to get back to his bike... in the darkness we see his bike, with the light on the bars, and the yellow jackets are still attacking it. weird... i rode back to the car and grabbed a can of wasp/hornet spray...we still got hit about six more times each retrieving the bike. mean little fuggers!

    dryer sheets huh? at least you'll smell snuggly fresh going down the trail

  19. #19
    mtbr member
    Reputation: Futurepath's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2004
    Posts
    194

    Black Mountain Info:

    Has anyone done the longer Black Mountain loop (Buckhorn Gap-Clawhammer-Black-Pressley Gap-Thrift Cove) and noticed any stingers? That's one of the bigger rides my buddy and I are planning on.

    Also, anyone noticed any of the little buggars along Caney Bottom?

    I'm just glad the 24 hour trail is ok. Imagine the motivation of doing a 24 hour race knowing your ass is going to be stung every 5 miles. OOOooo...sounds like times will be good

  20. #20
    CAN YOU DIG IT??!!??!!!??
    Reputation: man w/ one hand's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2003
    Posts
    3,985
    Keep movin' & stay out ft. It's usually th' guys in th' bk that ride up an' tell you they got popped a few times by th' bees that the 1st group irritated.

    Easier said than done sometimes I know, an' th' guys in the bk tend to be riding slower & have a hard time getting away cause they're tired.
    "Why are you willing to take so much & leave others in need...just because you can?"

  21. #21
    pronounced may-duh
    Reputation: Maida7's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2005
    Posts
    4,309
    I rode caney, butter, long branch 2 weeks ago and saw no bees (but it was raining)
    I rode clawhammer, maxwel, black mtn, grassy rd, thrift cove, sycamore, clawhammer, Buckthorn (aka twin falls) 1 week ago and no bees.
    Yesterday, I rode walsh creek, trace ridge, never ending rd, spencer branch, middle fork, more never ending rd, fletcher creek, more spencer branch, reservoir rd, and no bees.

    Knock on wood, No bees and No dryer sheets needed.

    Like one hand said the lead rider never gets stung. It's always the 2nd and 3rd riders. If the pack is big enuf then those way at the tail end may be warned by all the yelling and have a chance to bushwack around the hive. So either be first in your group or be way in the back and let the faster folks take the punishment.

  22. #22
    mtbr member
    Reputation: Futurepath's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2004
    Posts
    194

    Well...

    I'm the only one in the group who knows the trails, so...guess I'll be okay

    Of course, I'll warn them.

    Of course if any of my local buddies ride with us then I'll probably not be number 1.

    By the way, if anyone wants to join in my buddy John and I will be there Sept. 24 - 27.

  23. #23
    When did you get here?!?!
    Reputation: pisgahproductions's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2004
    Posts
    1,680

    found a nest...

    but didn't get stung.
    There's big 'ole nest right next to the steps heading up to Buckhorn Gap shelter. If you're sitting on the bottom step it's about 4 feet away to your left. Watch Out!
    You can please some people sometimes but you can't please all the people all the time.
    ERIC'S RIDE LOG

  24. #24
    mtbr member
    Reputation: plume's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2006
    Posts
    1,532
    Quote Originally Posted by Maida7
    Yesterday, I rode walsh creek, trace ridge, never ending rd, spencer branch, middle fork, more never ending rd, fletcher creek, more spencer branch, reservoir rd, and no bees.
    I rode down Trace on Sunday and got nailed yet again. Didn't see any nests, not as if I was really looking going down Trace! but somehow still managed to get ONE good sting on my thigh. It was only one but he got me w/ all his might cause this time it left my whole inner thigh beat red. I've been really keeping an eye out for them and I've seen a lot of them just randomly on the trail. I distinctly remember seeing one climbing up Wash Creek RD and running the f'er over w/ my front tire.

    they're everywhere, careful!

  25. #25
    Custom User Title
    Reputation: Bill Payer's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Posts
    233


    will these things die off in the winter? I am planning on coming down mid-November but I don't want to ride into a "sting-fest"
    "an inch an hour...two feet per day..."

Page 1 of 2 1 2 LastLast

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •