History of Pisgah's squirrel gap trail?- Mtbr.com
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  1. #1
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    History of Pisgah's squirrel gap trail?

    Do any of you know the history of the squirrel gap trail in pisgah? It doesn't seem to fit the usual MO of the other trails in that area. Its not in a valley, but its not all ridge top either, sorta side of hill. And its too skinny to be an old road bed. Is it an old CCC trail? Was there a CCC crew back in the day that knew something about trail design that other crews did not? Is it more modern?

    I'm just curious and thought I'd throw this out there and see if I could learn something new.
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  2. #2
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    I'll try.

    I think these guys may have had something to do with it.

    http://www.foresthistory.org/Researc...s/FHS279th.htm

    Try reading more about this:
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Biltmore_Forest_School

    Pretty cool what happened around here 100+ years ago.

  3. #3
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    Check out this guide to Cradle of Forestry trails. http://www.cs.unca.edu/nfsnc/recreat...dle_trails.pdf

    There was a network of work lodges throughout the forest which served to house the rangers who were hired to protect Vanderbilt's property. The Cantrell Creek lodge (which is at the Cradle of Forestry) was disassembled and helicoptered out of the woods.

    "The only other surviving lodge is
    Cantrell Creek Lodge, named after
    the creek it originally stood beside.
    Vandalism concerns prompted the
    Forest Service to move the cabin. In
    1979 the Young Adult Conservation
    Corps disassembled the structure at
    its original site. A helicopter flew
    the material here in 11 bundles, and
    the corps reconstructed the Cantrell
    Creek Lodge at the edge of the
    Cradle of Forestry parking lot."

    My guess is that most if not all of the trail was walked in over time as a convenient foot-path along the ridge line and through the gaps (Laurel, Horse Cove, and Squirrel) between the various lodges and work locations throughout the S Mills area.

    The whole guide is very informative, with quite a few pictures and stories about how other trails and roads came to be. One easily forgotten fact is that narrow gauge railroads were used extensively in early 1900's logging and the old rail grades are well hidden nearly 100 years later. The Carr Lumber Company built 75 miles of track in the district and you would be hard pressed to recognize much of it as rail grade today unless you come across some cross-ties. The best sign is the presence of switchbacks far to tight for any vehicle to navigate. These are the kind of switchbacks that are easy to get lost on in the woods. The trail goes along the slope and just ends - you might not notice that a hundred yards back there was another trail headed back the other way up the slope. A train would ride forward all the way out to the end and then they would "switch" it to the other track and it would go in reverse up the next section. A narrow gauge rail bed is less than 4ft wide.
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  4. #4
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    Based on the placement of the trail and its start and end points I have been assuming Squirrel Gap is one of the old mountaineer trails. The trail may well have been modernized by the CCC but by its character it no doubt originally precedes the establishment of the CCC by several decades. It may even precede the establishment of the Biltmore School.
    Cut-in mining and logging roads and river bottom logging were mostly late 19th- early 20th century and later.
    The true ridgeline trails were 1890s originally, built by Vanderbilt for surveyors.
    Small scale rail and animal logging access spurs from mid 19th are sometimes still apparent and incorporated into newer trails (there is one spot on Buckhorn where this is really evident).
    Before Vanderbilt bought it all up (and even after), squatters, moonshiners, and the so-called mountaineers lived all through the forest. They were often pretty far back in the woods, and not always just along the major rivers. They had been present since colonial times. They made trails. I also assume the mountaineers were the origin of similar trails (Farlow obviously is really similar to Squirrel, but also Butter and some others), along with many of the trails taken off official maps in the 1940s.
    Of course the best reading is not online. You link to the Forest History Society website, but try to get your hands on the 1998 FHS reissue of Schenck's memoir, much of which is fascinating (well, fascinating to me, your mileage may vary).
    Much as I'm obsessed with Pisgah history I've only lived in the area a year and a half. This opinion is based on my own professional training in environmental history, plus taking some good hard looks at the trails and old maps, plus some cursory reading. I would love to be contradicted or contacted by anyone who has more info.
    Last edited by EmilyB; 01-04-2010 at 11:07 PM.

  5. #5
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    I would assume that the origianl trails were footpaths that were created by native americans.

  6. #6
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    I thought maybe it was built by squirrels hauling their nuts to market.
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  7. #7
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    I am relatively certain that Squirrel Gap is one of the old railroad trestles described by ridin29s. This information came from our FS contact when PAS first adopted the trail, so it's not fact, just semi-reliable hearsay.

  8. #8
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    The middle of squirrel doesn't look like it was ever wider than singletrack. I'm thinking CCC. Like other decommissioned trail along S. Mills river, there's a lot of beautiful rock work and I can't imagine anybody but CCC workers doing that.

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    Quote Originally Posted by D.F.L.
    there's a lot of beautiful rock work and I can't imagine anybody but CCC workers doing that.
    I agree on that. Some of the little creek crossings in the coves have to be CCC (or similar era) rockwork, it's right out of the 1930s stylebook.

  10. #10
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    Rock Work

    I think most of the stuff in Pisgah pre-dates CCC. I don't know that they had their hands in much of Pisgah Proper, seems like they were all on the ridges working on the Parkway. I know a lot of the stone work on Pilot Rock, ie the switchback retaining walls was done by Chinese and Irish Railroad workers hired by Vanderbilt. The CCC were simply following the shadows of great craftsmen before them. This is a great thread. There is another book put out by the Carolina Mountain Club that talks about the history of the Mountains to Sea trail and it talks about the history of A few trails we all ride. I will have to find it again at my mom's and try to get an ISBN number off of it.

  11. #11
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    Yes! This is great. I've always wanted to see logging photos after having come across some rusty relics down Birdstand mountain. Keep the suggestions coming.
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    here's the amazon link for Schenck's memoir: http://www.amazon.com/Cradle-Forestr.../dp/0890300550
    I highly recommend it.
    The most interesting part of the memoir to me is the photos and description of the total devastation of Big Creek. It's interesting to try to mesh today's Big Creek with that past.

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by futuristxen
    Yes! This is great. I've always wanted to see logging photos after having come across some rusty relics down Birdstand mountain. Keep the suggestions coming.
    Do a keyword search for Pisgah on http://www.foresthistory.org/Research/photos.html and you will find some awesome ones.

  14. #14
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    There is more good reading online. The google has the much of the book - Railroads of Western NC posted - Railroads of Western North Carolina

    This is from page 75 - and my rough guess looking at a blurred scan is that the rail line show to the east of pink beds is certainly near, if not on, some of the current Squirrel Gap trail. You can make out Pink Beds and Black Mountain, it is hard to tell but the other landmarks/mtns look like FunnelTop, Laurel or Poundingstone and Cantrell Creek.



    Here's another old map that shows rail line going all the way up to Gloucester Gap and all the way up past Courthouse Falls to the bottom of Devils Courthouse. It also appears to show a line going up what is now 276 and all the way up the Davidson River nearly to Farlow.


    A rough map of the main large rails in Transylvania County circa 1910s or 20s.



    I may try to get to the library later and see if I can get a hard copy of the book to scan in the pics with better resolution....
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  15. #15
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    Being a teacher of NC history, I've always been intrigued with the history of Pisgah. My students love seeing the photos that I have of the CCC working on the parkway up in my direction. This is probably the coolest thread I've seen on mtbr for quite a while! Thanks for the information and discussion, I'm excited to see what else is uncovered!

  16. #16
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    [QUOTE=redriderbb]"I think most of the stuff in Pisgah pre-dates CCC. I don't know that they had their hands in much of Pisgah Proper, seems like they were all on the ridges working on the Parkway."

    CCC were in fact very active and had a camp at John's Rock. They did a ton of work in the area. My good friend and trail mentor Bill Devendorf was in the CCC and stationed at John's Rock Camp. Bill worked on a crew that built the Yellow Gap road and the White Pines group camp area. He did some trail work in the area as well. I will check in with Bill D. and see if he knows anything.

    FYI, we gave a special award to Bill at the IMBA Summit when it was near DC. The award was "Lifetime Achievement- Golden Pulaski" award. Bill was a hiker when I met him and he worked as a trail crew guy for the Blue Ridge Parkway (he was 70 at the time). We started doing some trail work with him over near Blowing Rock on BRP lands and got him to try mountain biking the following year at age 71. Bill rode JoJo's bike at a 4th of July party we were having and came back from 10 minutes on the bike and commented "This is what is happening". He had not ridden a bike since he was a teenager in Asheville, he grew up on the Grove Park Inn propoerty as his dad was the general manager there. Bill bought a mountain bike the following week and rode untill he was 78-80. He continued to do trail work until that age, but at 85+ now he has slowed down a bit. Bill used to could outwork anyone and he loved hanging out with mountain bikers.

    When we away from the Boone/Blowing Rock area, the local club High Country Mountain Bike Association fell apart (I was the Pres. and JoJo was the Sec). Bill lost his social network and was not happy not doing trailwork. DuPont was just coming online then and I knew Division of Forest Resources needed some help so was able to talk DFR into providing Bill with free housing in DuPont in exchange for volunteer work. Bill was the only "staff" person on DuPont for well over a year and he was happy again as he got to do some trail work and again be involved with a land management agency (he had worked for the National Park Service and NC State Parks). The bridge on Reasonover Creek Trail in DuPont named after Bill, his is still alive a kicking buy living down in the Piedmont.

    I have not been on S. Gap Trail in some time so can't really offer a good opinion. The rock work described does smell a bit like CCC work, but maybe they adopted an old narrow gauge corridor.

    Woody

  17. #17
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    sounds like D...

    I bet it is a combination of all the elements. Natives followed animal paths that became trails for early settlers and trappers. Those trappers used the trails to show the rich white guys where to put their trains to pull out logs. Then the trains went away and Forestry Folks and CCC folks used those corridors and others to create a trail system in the forest for science and recreation. Finally, the trails are managed for years by Forest service as a given network. We ride them and maintain them, tweaking bits here and there, part of the overall sceme. And I would've gotten away with it too if it wasn't for those Meddling Kidz !! Great Thread.

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    I have to agree that this is one of the most worthwhile threads on MTBR.com that I have seen and utterly appreciate. I have been on a mecca of sorts and for the last six years approximately I have been attempting to hike, bike, or horseback every trail, marked or unmarked, in the Ranger District. I spend ALOT of time hiking dead end cut-ins just to see what is around the other bend. I then spend an equal amount of the time backtracking, or climbing ridges to see what I can connect together. I live for this thread. Keep it coming! For what it is worth, the Etowah library has a few books and one that I currently returned was I believe called The Land of Waterfalls. It was released (again) in the 1980's and features lore on how the falls throughout present day Transylvania County got their names. I recommend it highly.
    "You can make some of the people happy some of the time, but you can't make all of the people happy all of the time."

  19. #19
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    OK, I'll try to interpret my fuzzy map. Now I've got another great excuse to go out hiking/biking and look for some clues.



    If I am right on Poundingstone and Cantrell then it looks like that bit of rail grade would match Mullinax and the start of Squirrel to where it crosses Cantrell Crk.
    many gears, some pies

  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by redriderbb
    I bet it is a combination of all the elements. Natives followed animal paths that became trails for early settlers and trappers. Those trappers used the trails to show the rich white guys where to put their trains to pull out logs. Then the trains went away and Forestry Folks and CCC folks used those corridors and others to create a trail system in the forest for science and recreation. Finally, the trails are managed for years by Forest service as a given network. We ride them and maintain them, tweaking bits here and there, part of the overall sceme. And I would've gotten away with it too if it wasn't for those Meddling Kidz !! Great Thread.

    Ben,

    Are you suggesting that trails are dynamic? Sounds like a good name for a trail building company eh?

    Yes, many of the trails in Pisgah and other areas have a history and started life as something other than a trail. Us in the know (including Ben) now use the term "purpose built trail" a lot to describe single trail planned/designed and then built solely for recreational purposes.

    I agree this is a great thread and no one has flammed anyone. How rare for MTBR.
    Other good threads on this forum now including the year in review (with photos) and wildlife stories. Maybe 2010 will be a year in which folks show a little more respect and we can keep this forum a little more productive (maybe just wishful thinking).

    Woody

  21. #21
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    A quick CCC annecdote: My grandfather was born in Fletcher, NC in 1899. At some point he was out of work and went to work for the CCC. He lasted 1 day. Came home and said the work was too hard for 50 cents a day. (he wound up heading to the midwest as farm labor until the depression improved)

    My house is build on the former site of a CCC camp in N. G'ville county. We have some crazy rock work in some ravines and 3 rock chimneys.

  22. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by redriderbb
    I bet it is a combination of all the elements. Natives followed animal paths that became trails for early settlers and trappers. Those trappers used the trails to show the rich white guys where to put their trains to pull out logs. Then the trains went away and Forestry Folks and CCC folks used those corridors and others to create a trail system in the forest for science and recreation. Finally, the trails are managed for years by Forest service as a given network. We ride them and maintain them, tweaking bits here and there, part of the overall sceme. And I would've gotten away with it too if it wasn't for those Meddling Kidz !! Great Thread.
    Seriously, thanks guys. Im a professor of environmental history and its really great to see people are genuinely interested in the topic. I've been working on Pacific Northwest forest history for years but am getting more interested in the Southeast the longer i live here.
    When I finish writing my current book my next project is almost certain to be on Pisgah. It's just too interesting not to.

  23. #23
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    finally a thread in the NC/SC forum that lets Nick show off his extensive local knowledge! thanks for this thread, it is really interesting.

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    ......
    Last edited by cruso414; 01-05-2010 at 08:35 PM.

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    This is a cool thread. thanks for the sweet info.

  26. #26
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    Quote Originally Posted by ncps
    This is a cool thread. thanks for the sweet info.
    I agree. Please keep it coming - you guys have a lot of knowledge to share..

  27. #27
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    Picture Squirrel Gap trail starting from S. Mills.

    Left off the swinging bridge.
    Right switchback up.
    Left switchback (no run-off for train or truck turnaround)
    Right switchback. Running contour until the trail reaches the ridge and descends in a rut to a near 180 left turn at the bottom.

    At this point you're back on doubletrack or old rail bed that must have followed the Glady's Branch up from S Mills river. I can't picture if that road makes it through Squirrel Gap or not, but there's more doubletrack just on the other side of the shallow creek crossings coming up . I'm not sure if the two connect or how it gets back out to the main line/road.

    Does anybody have the mysterious brown Quad maps with this info?

    From there, past Horse cove, and out to Laurel Creek Tr all seems like purpose built singletrack, but you know there have to be access routes in there because loggers weren't shy about taking everything.

  28. #28
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    long read, interesting facts

    This is from the South Mills River community newsletter of summer 2006

    HISTORY CORNER
    by Jim Brittain
    A few of our long-time residents can still remember
    when a railroad ran through the Mills River community.
    In fact, one of my early memories is of seeing a logging
    train steaming past the home of an aunt who lived on what
    is now Whitaker Lane in upper Mills River.
    The construction of the Mills River rail line resulted
    from a timber contract negotiated late in 1912 between
    George W. Vanderbilt and Louis Carr, owner of the
    Carr Lumber Company. Under the terms of the contract,
    Carr agreed to pay Vanderbilt $12 per acre to harvest mature
    trees on 69,326 acres or a total of $831,912. The
    money was to be paid in equal installments twice a year
    over a period of 20 years. If the lumber company were to
    cut timber on more than 3466.3 acres during any year, the
    annual payment was to be increased by $12 for each additional
    acre cut. The contract included a provision for extending
    the life of the contract by up to two years in case
    of a depression or other unforeseen delays. Also Carr was
    to have an additional year to remove the railroads and
    other equipment after completing logging operations.
    The 1912 contract gave Carr the right to operate
    a commissary or store and to lease land near the railroad
    station in Pisgah Forest for the installation of a sawmill,
    train yard, log and lumber yard, and employee housing.
    The timber company also was to be permitted to produce
    sufficient hydroelectric power at an approved location to
    provide electric lighting for the sawmill and adjacent buildings.
    The contract specified that all locomotives and other
    steam engines used by the Carr Company were to be
    equipped with spark arresters to reduce the risk of forest
    fires. Work animals or milk cows used by the loggers were
    not to be allowed to graze on the Vanderbilt land except in
    designated areas. Carr's employees were authorized to
    use houses or other buildings on the property being timbered
    with some exceptions specified by the contract.
    The Carr contract placed some interesting restrictions
    on the size and type of tree which could be removed.
    It stated that no yellow poplar, cherry, basswood, hickory,
    ash, cucumber tree, walnut, beech, birch, maple, white
    pine, scrub pine, or oaks other than chestnut oaks were to
    be cut if the trunk were less than 16 inches in diameter at
    the stump. Also, no chestnut oaks or chestnuts measuring
    less than 14 inches and no spruce under 12 inches at the
    stump were to be harvested. An exception permitted that
    trees of lesser diameter might be used to build bridges or
    trestles, except for yellow poplars. A penalty of 4 dollars
    per tree was to be imposed for any yellow poplar discovered
    to have been cut with a diameter under 16 inches. A
    two dollar per tree penalty was to be imposed for cutting
    other types less than the diameter prescribed. The timber
    company was encouraged to try to minimize damage to
    smaller trees during logging operations.
    Initially, the Carr Company constructed a 15 mile
    rail line extending from Pisgah Forest up the Davidson
    River to the headwaters of the South Mills River in the
    Pink Beds. The project included several spur lines on the
    major tributaries. Soon after the line was completed, a local
    newspaper, the French Broad Hustler, informed its
    readers that non-employees might arrange to ride the Carr
    logging train to the Pink Beds. Logging operations were
    well underway when ownership of the Vanderbilt land
    changed not long after the untimely death of George Vanderbilt
    in March 1914 from complications following surgery
    for appendicitis. In 1916, the Forest Reservation Commission
    of the federal government accepted an offer from Mrs.
    George (Edith) Vanderbilt to purchase approximately
    80,000 acres of land at a price of $5 per acre to become
    the nucleus of the Pisgah National Forest. The U.S. Forest
    Service, which assumed management of the newly acquired
    property, decided to honor the 1912 Carr contract
    and permitted logging to continue. Edith Vanderbilt retained
    ownership of about 500 acres in the vicinity of Buck
    Springs Lodge near Pisgah as well as about 12,000 acres
    surrounding the Biltmore House.
    When Carr's company completed logging operations
    along the Davidson River rail line in the early 1920s,
    a new line was installed along the south fork of Mills River
    and its major tributary, Bradley Creek. It was extended to
    connect to an existing railroad at Etowah so that logs
    could be delivered directly to the sawmill at Pisgah Forest.
    For the portion of the route located outside the national
    forest, Carr acquired a temporary right-of-way from individual
    land owners. For example, Henderson County land
    records document Carr's purchase of a 20 foot right of way
    from Henry Gillespie, owner of a farm on South Mills River,
    for the sum of $100 for a 17-year duration.
    The lumber company established a logging camp
    near the confluence of Cantrell Creek and South Mills
    River. Some farm families who lived near the railroad were
    able to supplement their income by selling fresh vegetables
    and other produce for the logging camp. Local residents,
    including two daughters of John and Minnie Gillespie
    were hired to prepare hot meals at the Cantrell Creek
    camp. One daughter used her earnings to pay for her
    room and board while attending the Fruitland Institute.
    By around 1927, Carr was ready to begin logging
    the north fork of Mills River. This required construction of
    the new rail line up the valley including spurs on the major
    tributaries, Big Creek and Fletcher Creek. The new section
    of the railroad joined the South Mills rail line a short distance
    above the confluence of the two forks.
    The Carr Lumber Company completed its timber
    cutting on Mills River in the early 1930s and removed the
    iron rail and other equipment. However, evidence of the
    project may still be seen by the careful observer. Some of
    the trails in the national forest follow the old railroad beds,
    and a few discarded metal artifacts still turn up occasionally.
    Some interpretive exhibits related to the Carr logging
    saga are maintained at the "Cradle of Forestry" in the Pink
    Beds. Some sections of the forest, including the Big Creek
    watershed, have not been logged since the 1930ís. Big
    Creek remains the largest contiguous forested tract without
    roads in Henderson County.
    Those who now enjoy solitary hikes along Big
    Creek can only imagine the steam trains and other sights
    and sounds produced by the small army of loggers who
    once worked there.
    many gears, some pies

  29. #29
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    Quote Originally Posted by thumpduster
    Do any of you know the history of the squirrel gap trail in pisgah? It doesn't seem to fit the usual MO of the other trails in that area. Its not in a valley, but its not all ridge top either, sorta side of hill. And its too skinny to be an old road bed. Is it an old CCC trail? Was there a CCC crew back in the day that knew something about trail design that other crews did not? Is it more modern?

    I'm just curious and thought I'd throw this out there and see if I could learn something new.
    Well, hopefully we all learned something. I know I did. Here's my best guess based on published accounts of the logging railroads and an old 1905 (YES 1905!) USGS Topo Map I found here: NC State USGS Historic Map Archive

    Apologies for the file size but I wanted you to be able to see the detail and zoom in.

    Starting from the end of Squirrel at Pea Gap / Bradley Crk it follows an existing (as of 1905) trail along its current route past PoundingStone and Laurel Mtns until Laurel Gap. There, the old trail kept the ridgeline to Rich Mtn and Funneltop. Current Squirrel drops down and follows the contours to near the headwaters of Cantrell and then to Horse Cove. At Horse Cove there is old 1905 trail again and other than a small deviation following the contours up Laurel Branch (the old trail just goes down and up) and then to Squirrel Gap. From Squirrel Gap it looks like the old and current trails follow the same route down to Wolf Ford and the intersection with S Mills River.

    Now, the old map was first made in 1905 and it says Polyconic Projection 1927. That wouldn't have updated any features, and I don't think any features were updated as other parts of the map do not show features that I know existed in 1915 - the house I live in being one such feature. So, based on this I think it is safe to say that nearly all of Squirrel existed as at least a trail in 1905, but since the logging railgrade wasn't put in until about 1915 or later we can't say whether they didn't lay track over parts of the old trail - without going out and doing some investigating.

    FWIW, there was also an 1892 version of the Pisgah map in the archive and it shows a road up Avery Creek (nearly all the way to Pink Beds) and a road up the North and South Forks of Mills River (but only in Henderson county) and NOTHING in between at all....

    I'm up for some "field work" most any weekend, maybe there are more clues in the woods. An interesting find on the old map was seeing that Club Gap used to be called Chubb Gap I have more links to share that I ran across doing this research, I'll probably start a separate thread for those.
    many gears, some pies

  30. #30
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    Old sign

    Let's not forget the old soapstone (if memory serves me correct) sign along North Slope Trail that indicates <PB 6 and BV 6>. (Pink Beds and Brevard/ six miles, in opposite directions). It is still standing. That would most likely send travelers up Avery's Creek as the corridor is almost directly north from the sign. It is common knowledge that the road to John's Rock also crossed the Davidson River several times from that location, to the present day hatchery. If one looks closely now, water diversion trenches are visible from HWY 276 when looking down toward the Davidson, as are the apparent flatland fields that they served to protect. The "fields" now have been reclaimed by forest along the river. And... part of the Kings Creek Mill waterwheel is still visible at the bottom of that drainage, although it is on private property. That mill was destroyed in 1916 by heavy flooding that was similar in comparison to the rampant local flooding of a few months ago. Further up Kings Creek and actually up Bradley Creek, and even on Grassy Creek in Dupont, are concrete remnants of past reservoirs. The two in PNF supplied Hendersonville and Brevard with their water.

    On another note, did some reviewing today and Tennesse Bald, which is northwest of Gloucester Gap, has been renamed "Tanesse" Bald since a 1917 map produced by Ora L. Jones was created. The function of that map was to dispute "Walton County", in an attempt by Georgia to incorporate the lands within, which conflicted with almost all of the land in question already being a part of Transylvania County. Tanasse Ridge still marks the boundaries of Transylvania, Jackson, and Haywood Counties.
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  31. #31
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    Great thread! I'm not knowledgeable enough to really participate but here is a pic of the sign that Chief is referring to:

    More Trails, Not Less

    Adventures in Pisgah

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    if you're climbing up mullinax towards squirrel before you make the right turn into the dip and then up to the left switchback....a few hundred yards before that if you look down into the ravine there is an old logging steam engine. theres another old engine on green mtn trail way out in middle prong, and another much larger engine on a ridge off 215. i dont guess there was much interest in hauling them out if they broke down.

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    Quote Originally Posted by CHIEF
    On another note, did some reviewing today and Tennesse Bald, which is northwest of Gloucester Gap, has been renamed "Tanesse" Bald since a 1917 map produced by Ora L. Jones was created. The function of that map was to dispute "Walton County", in an attempt by Georgia to incorporate the lands within, which conflicted with almost all of the land in question already being a part of Transylvania County. Tanasse Ridge still marks the boundaries of Transylvania, Jackson, and Haywood Counties.
    Hey Chief, the 1892 and 1905 USGS maps both show Tennessee not Tanasee.
    1892 / 1905
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  34. #34
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    Great thread! Thanks to everyone for providing info. on one of my top 5 favorite places in the world.

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    THANKS to Everyone who has shared!!! Being a student of history, I'm always remarking to my better half about our surroundings. Who lived here (the old chimney along Horse Cove)? Did the creek originally flow over there? When was this stonework built? And of course our favorite, where did this old roadbed go and when was it created?
    This is a great thread!
    My better half and I always remind ourselves that others were enjoying the places we ride long before us...


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    Human disturbance

    You know another couple of cool places in the forest? How about below Bear Branch, less than a half mile from the road in Mills River? Or on Black/Thrift past the Black Mtn. intersection, headed uphill when going clockwise from the parking lot, there appears to be stone ruins off the trail. And the old chimney that is on Old 280. All the logging stuff left behind around Shining Rock and in the Middle Prong in general, and the old truck hood propped up on Flat Laurel Creek. And then speaking of car parts... the station wagon left in the woods in Dupont. And now that we're talking about Dupont, why not go a little farther up Pinnacle Mountain Road and check out the historical graffiti on the top of the mountain itself. Wait a second, the top of the mountain is becoming another luxury development. Better check it out quick!
    "You can make some of the people happy some of the time, but you can't make all of the people happy all of the time."

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    Where on 215? These I gotta see.

    Might tow my BOB and bring one back with me.

    Quote Originally Posted by park baker
    if you're climbing up mullinax towards squirrel before you make the right turn into the dip and then up to the left switchback....a few hundred yards before that if you look down into the ravine there is an old logging steam engine. theres another old engine on green mtn trail way out in middle prong, and another much larger engine on a ridge off 215. i dont guess there was much interest in hauling them out if they broke down.

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    Map Update

    I got my hands on a copy of "Logging Railroads of the Blue Ridge and Smokey Mountains" by Thomas Fetters. I have to highly recommend the book - it's an eye-opening history of logging in all the Western NC counties. I've only read through the Transylvania county chapter so far and already want to get out and explore some areas that I never new had so much history.

    Now, onto some updated (corrected) information from earlier posts. First, I posted a blurry map and now I can post a clear scan which shows the lines run in the Mills River watershed.



    This scan shows that a line ran all the way up Bradley Creek from S Mills and all the way up the Davidson River, past Looking Glass Falls, through Pink Beds, up and down Thompson Creek and then up Slate Rock Creek. There are supposedly still cross-ties visible along Slate Rock Creek but I've never noticed them - now I know to look.

    I had mentioned that narrow-guage railroads were used extensively, but I found out that Carr Lumber used standard guage tracks and cars because they joined the Southern Railway lines in Etowah and Pisgah Forest and didn't want to have to transfer logs/lumber between the two systems. The track itself (the metal rails) were leased from the Southern Railway and that's a primary reason they were all taken up - they weren't the property of Carr Lumber to begin with.

    The map also shows a line going north of Laurel Mtn (the Laurel Mtn on Squirrel not the one the you go up to get to Pilot). That line (I think) is likely to be along the route of Suirrel Gap trail, although my USGS map from 1905 (predating the railway) also shows a similar route as a foot path, so the trail history goes back to before the railroad.

    A few mysteries remain.
    Whether the rail went all the way to Cantrell. There was a large logging camp at Cantrell but I don't find any mention of the rail line going by there.
    Other small spurs along the main line. The book mentions that they built many spurs along tributaries of the main waterways but the maps only show the main lines. It is quite possible that Cantrell Creek and Glady Branch had spurs. If there was a spur up Glady Branch (near Wolf Ford at the other end of Squirrel) then that line would likely match up with some of present day Squirrel Gap trail as well (like DFL mentioned).

    I've found out lots more about the other end of the forest (out Farlow and Devils Courthous way) and I'm going to post a seperate thread for that.

    I'll leave you with one last picture for now - how about the size of those logs. There are mentions of poplars bigger than 5 ft. in diameter (too big to go through the sawmill!). These could be close to that.

    many gears, some pies

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    In following up with the last post's information it is crazy to think that a RR line went up Thompson Creek (trail) and Cherry Gap as both areas are incredibly steep. Bradley Creek was site to the big splash dam experiment that failed miserably and sent logs onto the farmland downstream that borders the South Mills River. Vanderbilt's men quickly set to "stamping" those logs lying in the fields as farmers were helping themselves to free wood. They were also pissed because their fields were ruined temporarily. Initially plowed over by the logs, then waterlogged, and then further churned up as the logs were carted out. Vanderbilt did pay the farmers for damages, again doing his best to make right with the locals. And it was also a common practice to blow up logs that were too big to pass through the sawmills with dynamite to get them in more manageable sizes and this would occur near the sawmills themselves. Thank you for sharing that the actual tracks were leased and pulled up for that reason. My prior belief was that locals rushed into the forest to pull up the iron to be reworked for purposes of their own desire. Exploring on and off trail for sometime now, it is pretty cool to see fortified stream banks that served as the base for makeshift bridges and trestles. It is cool when logs still lay across the top, although most of them have decomposed. But occasionally I'll come across one with one or two logs still up top, slats missing, but a series of large nails running parallel still in place. Within the last five years I actually found a narrow gauge railroad spike while riding up the old toll road near Mount Mitchell.
    "You can make some of the people happy some of the time, but you can't make all of the people happy all of the time."

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    Enjoying the thread! Wish I could find the one we had in 2000 (?) about Pisgah Forest. A rider at the Universtity of Georgia posted a ton of information - a lot of it focused on this area.

    Old pics:
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails History of Pisgah's squirrel gap trail?-carr_train_1.jpg  

    History of Pisgah's squirrel gap trail?-carr_train.jpg  

    History of Pisgah's squirrel gap trail?-pisgah_forest_entrance.jpg  

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  41. #41
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    MUM, any luck finding that thread?

    I just finished reading this book for a grad class I'm in at App State. It had some good info and photos of the CCC days here in NC.


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    I went through 99-2001 MTBr Passion archives, as I was pretty sure it was on there. They didn't have all the forums we have now back in the olden days. No luck.

    Gee - was that a trip down memory lane...



    Contacted a lady at UGA and she couldn't find anything.

    Along with some nice hand drawn maps, was a few photos. I saved one of a guy on an Indian Motorcycle with to two fella on bicycles at a shack. Had a bad PC crash around that time.

    That's why they call it "history", kids.
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    Dang. I've lived here all my life and totally found this thread engrossing. Had a hard time pulling myself away. I really wanted to come up with my own theory about SG, whether true or fiction, but, I got so interested that those thoughts got derailled. I would guess that however long SG has been any kind of trail that it likely started as a game and indian path. Eventually being used for hunting and trapping as the white man moved into this region. Shucks, it's quite possible that local regiments during the Revolutionary and/or Civil wars used those trails to get from hither to yon. I love this stuff.

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    Quote Originally Posted by dkknight74
    Dang. I've lived here all my life and totally found this thread engrossing. Had a hard time pulling myself away. I really wanted to come up with my own theory about SG, whether true or fiction, but, I got so interested that those thoughts got derailled. I would guess that however long SG has been any kind of trail that it likely started as a game and indian path. Eventually being used for hunting and trapping as the white man moved into this region. Shucks, it's quite possible that local regiments during the Revolutionary and/or Civil wars used those trails to get from hither to yon. I love this stuff.
    As was stated earlier, some of those trails led to homes/trappers/cabins way out there pre-dating the Revolutionary War. An interesting, if fictional, account of the area that makes for a fun read is Thirteen Moons by the guy who wrote Cold Mountain. Controversy about the book and its content aside, the beginning of the narrative concentrates on a journey from roughly Hendersonville west to Cherokee through the mountains, and the descriptions of the coves and trails are pretty fantastic. I think of it often as I stand on Slate Rock looking out over the valley toward the Cradle ...

    There are also some pretty cool photos out there on the interweb of the Mills River logging operations, including the dam at Big Creek. I'll see if I can find the links I found when I was doing a search.

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    Quote Originally Posted by crossboy
    An interesting, if fictional, account of the area that makes for a fun read is Thirteen Moons by the guy who wrote Cold Mountain. Controversy about the book and its content aside, the beginning of the narrative concentrates on a journey from roughly Hendersonville west to Cherokee through the mountains, and the descriptions of the coves and trails are pretty fantastic. I think of it often as I stand on Slate Rock looking out over the valley toward the Cradle ...
    Thanks for the tip crossboy, just picked it up at the bookstore today. Another good albeit fictional read of the local terrain and it's history is Serena by Ron Rash. It tells of the logging practices in Haywood County in the 20's and 30's. There's lots of references to well known topographical features that I know fairly well. And even though it's a novel I dare say the discription of the logging practices are probably damn accurate for that time in history. Great thread idea by the way, I love learning about our local mountain history and then appreciating it as I ride or hike along it's trails.

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    I had read Cold Mountain a few years before I moved to NC, but had already spent much time here camping and whatnot. I hadn't yet read Thirteen Moons, but picked it up the other day and am already nearly finished. Thanks for the recommendation crossboy!

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    I am very interested in finding the abandoned logging locomotives off of rt 215 and along Mullinax. Nobody at the Ranger station could help. Anybody have any additional info?

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    Have gone out looking for the Mulinax artifact on several occasions with no luck. Good luck with that one! Let me know if you find it... Actually my last excursion with that serving as the motivation to "trail run" resulted in 20 bee stings awarded to a friend, 1 to me, and about 30 others awarded to the three dogs traveling among us. Not fun.

    Note: it is not a locamotive, as that would be pretty hard to hide no matter how grown up the forest. Plus, there would be at least a hint of a trail going to it.
    "You can make some of the people happy some of the time, but you can't make all of the people happy all of the time."

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    Someone will reply with a better answer, but I was told by someone who has found it that the one on Mullinax is on the right side of the drainage as you climb the old road grade.

    I've never found it, but now my curiosity is piqued.

  51. #51
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    Thanks for reviving this thread.

    There's so much history about Pisgah that's falling by the wayside.

    Is anyone familiar with the Hermit's Cabin, near Bennett's Gap?

    Back in the 70s, I hiked a trail that (basically) went due west from Bennett's Gap for about 1/4 mile. Then it followed a creek all the way down to 276, coming out just north of Sliding Rock. Where the trail met up with the creek, there was a clearing. In this clearing were the remnants of a cabin.

    The story goes - an old hermit lived in that cabin. He made a living by mining for mica. A couple of times a year, he'd take his mica into Brevard, sell it and buy whatever he needed.

    He was the last holdout of property owners unwilling to sell to the government. The government gave him a life tenancy.

    I don't think the trail is still listed on any maps. I just wondered if anyone else was familiar with it.
    Zippity do dah...

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    that trail goes all the way to the north face of looking glass. its easier to find from the looking glass side. look left.






    Quote Originally Posted by Let's Ride
    Thanks for reviving this thread.

    There's so much history about Pisgah that's falling by the wayside.

    Is anyone familiar with the Hermit's Cabin, near Bennett's Gap?

    Back in the 70s, I hiked a trail that (basically) went due west from Bennett's Gap for about 1/4 mile. Then it followed a creek all the way down to 276, coming out just north of Sliding Rock. Where the trail met up with the creek, there was a clearing. In this clearing were the remnants of a cabin.

    The story goes - an old hermit lived in that cabin. He made a living by mining for mica. A couple of times a year, he'd take his mica into Brevard, sell it and buy whatever he needed.

    He was the last holdout of property owners unwilling to sell to the government. The government gave him a life tenancy.

    I don't think the trail is still listed on any maps. I just wondered if anyone else was familiar with it.

  53. #53
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    Quote Originally Posted by park baker
    that trail goes all the way to the north face of looking glass. its easier to find from the looking glass side. look left.
    Right. We would camp at Bennett's Gap and hike over to Lookingglass, which included 100 yards on the road. That last climb up to the base of the north face is brutal. It was the old approach trail for north face climbers.

    The last time I tried that hike, the cable across the river was gone. And the last part of the trail was closed for peregrine nesting.
    Zippity do dah...

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    If not a locomotive what am I looking for? I may search for it on sat. Thais for the response.

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    History and woods this is great.

  56. #56
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    Hope I'm not beatin' a dead horse on the topic here, but fount a box of floppies in the attic during a clean out last week. The old PC balked at 50% of them. Might have to hit up a neighbor. Did come across the link for a previously referenced sight:

    http://www.foresthistory.org/ASPNET/...ory/chap1.aspx

    I also had a Word file of one of my favorite quotes. (Somehow, this always made me feel safe at the old Gatherings.)



    "Local people did not want drunkenness in the camp, but at the same time turning in moonshiners was against their custom. As a former county sheriff put it:

    There is some in the (CCC) camp that sells liquor. I can throw a rock from my barn and hit one of them.. I am personally acquainted with him, and it would hurt his feelings if I said anything about it."
    Now you're cast of steel and cast aside. Broken dreams maybe, but you haven't died

  57. #57
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    Bringing this one back....

    I stumbled across the USGS's online historical database of maps. It is fascinating to look back to 1935 and see what our forests looked like then. It also helps explain a lot of old trails and roadbeds I have found in the woods.

    USGS Historic Quadrangle Scanning Project

  58. #58
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    Quote Originally Posted by gtdrew View Post
    Bringing this one back....

    I stumbled across the USGS's online historical database of maps. It is fascinating to look back to 1935 and see what our forests looked like then. It also helps explain a lot of old trails and roadbeds I have found in the woods.

    USGS Historic Quadrangle Scanning Project
    Interesting: Mullinax Gap = Molyneaux Gap
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    Great, great stuff. Thanks everyone!

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    I could spend entirely way too much time looking at these. Its amazing how much more populated these areas were around the turn of the century.

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    I found this thread while looking for Squirrel Gap info. It's been buried for a couple of years, but it is SUPER INTERESTING, so I thought I'd revive it. Such a rich history around here. I'm from Alaska originally, where there isn't a lot of (european/western) history. I love being out here.
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    History of Pisgah's squirrel gap trail?

    Quote Originally Posted by D.F.L. View Post
    Someone will reply with a better answer, but I was told by someone who has found it that the one on Mullinax is on the right side of the drainage as you climb the old road grade.

    I've never found it, but now my curiosity is piqued.
    I need more information on this.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Jnthomps08 View Post
    I need more information on this.
    The engine on Mullinax is actually a diesel engine, I don't know much about old machines but a friend of mine does. We went out there a few years ago and he identified it as a mid 1940's diesel engine.

    He said it was likely used to haul lumber or equipment, but it could have also been just dumped by people who used to frequent the woods when there were fewer rules. It wasn't that long ago when people used to ride dirt bikes and drive jeeps all over these woods. The latter is less likely, because the engine is stripped down, which led him to lean towards the engine being rigged to some sort of cart. He said that while it could have been used to for lumber, it's size would have limited its load.

    In some spots people still do drive. Another friend and myself caught a ride up 215 from Indian Creek a few years ago with some good old boys in older jeeps with wenches on the front and back. The one guy told me his grandfather was the Pisgah Ranger before Burgess. He and all his hunting buddies have keys to the gates and run the forest west of 215. Don't be surprised if you're exploring and see guys driving all over, he said they mostly are looking for submerged Chestnut logs...they wench them out and sell it.

    I had forgotten about this thread until a new job inspired me to look up some history of this area.

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    Quote Originally Posted by park baker View Post

    In some spots people still do drive. Another friend and myself caught a ride up 215 from Indian Creek a few years ago with some good old boys in older jeeps with wenches on the front and back. The one guy told me his grandfather was the Pisgah Ranger before Burgess. He and all his hunting buddies have keys to the gates and run the forest west of 215. Don't be surprised if you're exploring and see guys driving all over, he said they mostly are looking for submerged Chestnut logs...they wench them out and sell it.

    I had forgotten about this thread until a new job inspired me to look up some history of this area.
    LOL - a few years back I was camped at Farlow Gap and my morning coffee was interrupted by two good-ol-boys and their hounds in an aged Toyota pick-up driving through on their way down 140A towards 5031. They just waved and went on by. I've also encountered locals deep in the woods off of Cathy's Creek road on ATVs and packing real heat, not the puny 'allowed' .22 caliber and not during any hunting season.
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  65. #65
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    A while back my friend and I spent a couple days out there looking for that engine. Never did find it, and we're really good at bushwacking adventures....
    I've heard there's another old trail engine/locomotive in gulley somewhere back there. An 'ol tail, maybe?
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  66. #66
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    History of Pisgah's squirrel gap trail?

    Quote Originally Posted by thumpduster View Post
    A while back my friend and I spent a couple days out there looking for that engine. Never did find it, and we're really good at bushwacking adventures....
    I've heard there's another old trail engine/locomotive in gulley somewhere back there. An 'ol tail, maybe?
    "Ol tail", I'm sure there's some of that out there.

  67. #67
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    Bump for a really cool thread. I was researching Pisgah logging railroads and was happy to find an MTBR post in the results

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    Thanks for bumping this, interesting! Going to put some of those old pics and maps on the wall in my bike room.

  69. #69
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    Rising from the ashes again....
    Should you do more trail work?

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    Squirel Gap was the route taken by the pioneer albino squirrels to get from Turkey Pen to the South Mills River. They pulled little wagons full of nuts.
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    Quote Originally Posted by mikeridesabike View Post
    Squirel Gap was the route taken by the pioneer albino squirrels to get from Turkey Pen to the South Mills River. They pulled little wagons full of nuts.
    Legend says they started out normal Grey Squirrels but the gnar of Pisgah was so great they were all turned white from fear by journey's end...

    The great squirrel migration of 1874... Look it up.
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  72. #72
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    Quote Originally Posted by mikeridesabike View Post
    Squirel Gap was the route taken by the pioneer albino squirrels to get from Turkey Pen to the South Mills River. They pulled little wagons full of nuts.
    These nuts?

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    Maybe it was Deeze nuts:

    Name:  DZnuts_mens_pro_chamois_cream_grande.jpg
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    Or these:

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    Nothing like getting off topic due to a poor attempt at humor

    Squirrel is just about my favorite trail in PNF. Despite the multiple forced dismounts (for me at least) I like it because you really know you are out in the woods when you are on Squirrel. And it is SINGLE track, with the ability to throw your butt off the bike at any time if you aren't paying attention. Not like this sissy stuff like they have been putting in at Dupont lately.
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    I came across some narrow gauge tracks and probably a run up little lost cove creek falls in wilson creek last weekend. It prompted me to find this thread again, so I thought I'd bump it.

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    I'm glad you revived this thread, I've been meaning to do so myself. I bought a copy of Schenck's memoirs, but haven't had a chance to read them yet.

    I also went hunting for that engine on Mullinax before the leaves showed up, I couldn't find it.

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    great thread! thanks for bumping it.

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    https://books.google.com/books?id=52...ogging&f=false

    Start around page 25 and work your way through for some quality Wilson Creek history.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Adodero View Post
    I'm glad you revived this thread, I've been meaning to do so myself. I bought a copy of Schenck's memoirs, but haven't had a chance to read them yet.

    I also went hunting for that engine on Mullinax before the leaves showed up, I couldn't find it.
    I wonder if that engine is covered in vegetation and/or old forest debris (leaves, et al). We need a lidar drone.

    Quote Originally Posted by motomike View Post
    https://books.google.com/books?id=52...ogging&f=false

    Start around page 25 and work your way through for some quality Wilson Creek history.
    Awesome, thanks Mike!

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    Quote Originally Posted by matty22c View Post
    I wonder if that engine is covered in vegetation and/or old forest debris (leaves, et al). We need a lidar drone.
    It's likely esp. considering Park's post was in 2010, but I'd expect something of that size to remain at least partially visible, but who knows. I think I know where he's talking about on Mullinax, but when I went out, I couldn't find it. I didn't go stomping around off trail to look, either, though.

    Then again, I'm not exactly the most observant when it comes to seeing landmarks while I'm riding. I rode past that fireplace on Maxwell up towards Black for 2 years without realizing it was there. That was a bit embarrassing.

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    Quote Originally Posted by matty22c View Post
    We need a lidar drone.
    We have submeter lidar (0.5-m) for the western part of the state (finally). I am working through it now but if you guys can give me a specific area (just draw a box on a map you'd like to see), I can get the data and put together a PDF or something for y'all to pore over. The data is downright incredible. We'll be able to see the Pisgah trails no problem. I was working on data from Green River today and it's actually hard to discern the trails from all the other long forgotten logging roads out there.

    Here is a cool shot from Gorges State Park. Landslide into the Toxaway River, surmised to have occurred following the August 1916 Lake Toxaway Dam failure.
    Name:  toxawayRiverSlide.jpg
Views: 201
Size:  48.9 KB


    And here is a large slide (900+ feet long) in Henderson County above the south fork of the Mills River.
    History of Pisgah's squirrel gap trail?-bearclaw.jpg

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    I was sort of joking, but damn if MTB community doesn't provide. We are kind of an awesome group. Bravo Lithified.

  84. #84
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lithified View Post
    We have submeter lidar (0.5-m) for the western part of the state (finally). I am working through it now but if you guys can give me a specific area (just draw a box on a map you'd like to see), I can get the data and put together a PDF or something for y'all to pore over. The data is downright incredible. We'll be able to see the Pisgah trails no problem. I was working on data from Green River today and it's actually hard to discern the trails from all the other long forgotten logging roads out there.

    Here is a cool shot from Gorges State Park. Landslide into the Toxaway River, surmised to have occurred following the August 1916 Lake Toxaway Dam failure.
    Name:  toxawayRiverSlide.jpg
Views: 201
Size:  48.9 KB


    And here is a large slide (900+ feet long) in Henderson County above the south fork of the Mills River.
    Click image for larger version. 

Name:	bearclaw.jpg 
Views:	22 
Size:	212.8 KB 
ID:	1259001
    That is super cool.


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    There's a 1920s-ish model T looking car that rests just below 64 on the north side of Toxaway Falls. It's easy enough to find if you poke around for a minute. Pretty cool. I believe it washed over in the dam break and got pinned against a tree because it doesn't look like it was wrecked/rolled.

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    This is the supposed location of the steam engine off Mullinax, if you want to provide the lidar image.


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    Quote Originally Posted by Timothy G. Parrish View Post
    This is the supposed location of the steam engine off Mullinax, if you want to provide the lidar image.

    What mapping program are you using? Iím trying to bring myself into the current century, technologically speaking.


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    ^ Thanks. I'll go hunt for it this weekend or as soon as I get a chance.

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    Quote Originally Posted by mbmb65 View Post
    What mapping program are you using? Iím trying to bring myself into the current century, technologically speaking.


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    Avenza PDF Maps app. This screenshot is from the PDF map from Pisgah Map Company. App is free, you buy maps through the map store via app or website (searching on website is much easier; there are some free maps in the store as well). You can import your own maps, if you have any (only up to 3 at once, but you can import/remove as many times as you want). You can drop pins to mark the map. You can trace your route so you can easily navigate unfamiliar territory. You can export your route as a GPX and upload to other sites/apps.

    I use it quite a bit to mark the locations of downed trees. I can send a screenshot along with the report to land managers or trail volunteers.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Timothy G. Parrish View Post
    Avenza PDF Maps app. This screenshot is from the PDF map from Pisgah Map Company. App is free, you buy maps through the map store via app or website (searching on website is much easier; there are some free maps in the store as well). You can import your own maps, if you have any (only up to 3 at once, but you can import/remove as many times as you want). You can drop pins to mark the map. You can trace your route so you can easily navigate unfamiliar territory. You can export your route as a GPX and upload to other sites/apps.

    I use it quite a bit to mark the locations of downed trees. I can send a screenshot along with the report to land managers or trail volunteers.
    Thanks Timothy. This is helpful. I actually downloaded the Avenza app a while back, and have piddled with trying to figure out how to work it. When it comes to tech stuff, Iím about as Unknowledgeable as I can be. Iíd like to use use it to map unfamiliar areas, and things of that nature. Can I layer trails/roads I ride on top of an existing map that I import, assuming I can figure out how to do that?


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    Quote Originally Posted by mbmb65 View Post
    Thanks Timothy. This is helpful. I actually downloaded the Avenza app a while back, and have piddled with trying to figure out how to work it. When it comes to tech stuff, Iím about as Unknowledgeable as I can be. Iíd like to use use it to map unfamiliar areas, and things of that nature. Can I layer trails/roads I ride on top of an existing map that I import, assuming I can figure out how to do that?


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    Any map that is imported needs to be georeferenced. That's the first hurdle. All maps in the store are, but if you make your own, you need GIS software (or a really nice friend with it) to do this. GIS software is very expensive. I'm not sure what you mean by layer roads and trails on the map. Is this like importing a route into a Garmin or such, where your route is visible and you can follow it?

  92. #92
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    Quote Originally Posted by Timothy G. Parrish View Post
    Avenza PDF Maps app. This screenshot is from the PDF map from Pisgah Map Company. App is free, you buy maps through the map store via app or website (searching on website is much easier; there are some free maps in the store as well). You can import your own maps, if you have any (only up to 3 at once, but you can import/remove as many times as you want). You can drop pins to mark the map. You can trace your route so you can easily navigate unfamiliar territory. You can export your route as a GPX and upload to other sites/apps.

    I use it quite a bit to mark the locations of downed trees. I can send a screenshot along with the report to land managers or trail volunteers.
    Thanks Timothy. This is helpful. I actually downloaded the Avenza app a while back, and have piddled with trying to figure out how to work it. When it comes to tech stuff, Iím about as Unknowledgeable as I can be. Iíd like to use use it to map unfamiliar areas, and things of that nature. Can I layer trails/roads I ride on top of an existing map that I import, assuming I can figure out how to do that?


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  93. #93
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    Quote Originally Posted by Timothy G. Parrish View Post
    Any map that is imported needs to be georeferenced. That's the first hurdle. All maps in the store are, but if you make your own, you need GIS software (or a really nice friend with it) to do this. GIS software is very expensive. I'm not sure what you mean by layer roads and trails on the map. Is this like importing a route into a Garmin or such, where your route is visible and you can follow it?
    Hmmm. I guess what Iím asking is, if I have a map in the avenza app, will it trace my ride, and show me where Iíve been? Essentially logging my route? Is that even what a layer is?


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    Quote Originally Posted by mbmb65 View Post
    Hmmm. I guess what Iím asking is, if I have a map in the avenza app, will it trace my ride, and show me where Iíve been? Essentially logging my route? Is that even what a layer is?


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    Yes, it does that. You slide up the menu on the bottom and press the button to start tracking. It will draw a colored line as shown below.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Timothy G. Parrish View Post
    Any map that is imported needs to be georeferenced. That's the first hurdle. All maps in the store are, but if you make your own, you need GIS software (or a really nice friend with it) to do this. GIS software is very expensive. I'm not sure what you mean by layer roads and trails on the map. Is this like importing a route into a Garmin or such, where your route is visible and you can follow it?
    FWIW, I've got GIS software at home and have georeferenced maps for Avenza for a job I had years ago.

    Quote Originally Posted by mbmb65 View Post
    Thanks Timothy. This is helpful. I actually downloaded the Avenza app a while back, and have piddled with trying to figure out how to work it. When it comes to tech stuff, Iím about as Unknowledgeable as I can be. Iíd like to use use it to map unfamiliar areas, and things of that nature. Can I layer trails/roads I ride on top of an existing map that I import, assuming I can figure out how to do that?


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    If you're wanting to actually map things, there are probably better apps out there for you to use. For that matter, I'm not sure I'd be relying on a mobile phone for such purposes unless I had an external bluetooth GPS receiver to avoid the limitations of the vast majority of phones' hardware (namely, their tiny-ass GPS antenna). The Avenza app is geared mostly towards casual use spot checks, and Timothy G. Parrish's stuff at the most extreme end. Major benefit of it in this area is that the basemap is stored on the device. So many people using Trailforks and MTBProject download the trails themselves for use in areas with no cell reception, but neither app saves the basemap data, and there's a lot you simply can't tell without that basemap.

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    Quote Originally Posted by mbmb65 View Post
    Hmmm. I guess what Iím asking is, if I have a map in the avenza app, will it trace my ride, and show me where Iíve been? Essentially logging my route? Is that even what a layer is?


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    Ah, that's a bit different than what I thought you were asking when you said you wanted to map stuff.

    And also, when I think of layering data, I'm thinking of layering a bunch of different sources onto the basemap before ever going out. Not just displaying my track. I guess that's my GIS background coming in.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Harold View Post
    FWIW, I've got GIS software at home and have georeferenced maps for Avenza for a job I had years ago.



    If you're wanting to actually map things, there are probably better apps out there for you to use. For that matter, I'm not sure I'd be relying on a mobile phone for such purposes unless I had an external bluetooth GPS receiver to avoid the limitations of the vast majority of phones' hardware (namely, their tiny-ass GPS antenna). The Avenza app is geared mostly towards casual use spot checks, and Timothy G. Parrish's stuff at the most extreme end. Major benefit of it in this area is that the basemap is stored on the device. So many people using Trailforks and MTBProject download the trails themselves for use in areas with no cell reception, but neither app saves the basemap data, and there's a lot you simply can't tell without that basemap.
    If you put your phone in airplane mode, you can trace your route all day using Avenza. I have done this a lot. And true about MTB Project and TrailForks. I can't speak to TF as I don't use that, but you need to download the data for MTBP to use offline. In addition, neither allow you to trace your route. Tracing your route definitely keeps you going in the right direction. I've known several people who have gone the wrong way trying to use MTBP and TF solely.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Timothy G. Parrish View Post
    If you put your phone in airplane mode, you can trace your route all day using Avenza. I have done this a lot. And true about MTB Project and TrailForks. I can't speak to TF as I don't use that, but you need to download the data for MTBP to use offline. In addition, neither allow you to trace your route. Tracing your route definitely keeps you going in the right direction. I've known several people who have gone the wrong way trying to use MTBP and TF solely.
    I use mostly MTBP, but also have TF. TF pisses me off because if I download a bunch of trails and then the app updates, those trails have to be downloaded again. MTBP doesn't work that way.

    But around here, I tend to use the paper Pisgah Map Co maps, and I record my tracks on a Garmin. Might be useful to also have avenza app just in case, but I mostly just use my phone for the camera when I ride. If people get turned around that easily, seems to me they need to work on some basic nav skills. Lol.

    I was amused one day at dupont. I was at the lake imaging parking lot about to start a ride. I had my paper pisgah map co map out and my wife and I were discussing possible routes (so much easier to do with a paper map). A random lady approached me to extol the virtues of MTBP. I wish I had been wearing my MTBP jersey that they sent me for free because I've contributed so many trails to their database.

    FWIW, I requested the lidar data for the area with the engine. They said it could take as much as 24hrs to prepare.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Timothy G. Parrish View Post
    Yes, it does that. You slide up the menu on the bottom and press the button to start tracking. It will draw a colored line as shown below.
    Perfect. Thanks. Now all I gotta do is learn the damn thing.


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  100. #100
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    Quote Originally Posted by Harold View Post
    Ah, that's a bit different than what I thought you were asking when you said you wanted to map stuff.

    And also, when I think of layering data, I'm thinking of layering a bunch of different sources onto the basemap before ever going out. Not just displaying my track. I guess that's my GIS background coming in.
    Yeah, I really just want to map my route. And I have zero GIS background. I was stabbing in the dark with my use of the term ďlayeringĒ.


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  101. #101
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    Quote Originally Posted by Harold View Post
    I use mostly MTBP, but also have TF. TF pisses me off because if I download a bunch of trails and then the app updates, those trails have to be downloaded again. MTBP doesn't work that way.

    But around here, I tend to use the paper Pisgah Map Co maps, and I record my tracks on a Garmin. Might be useful to also have avenza app just in case, but I mostly just use my phone for the camera when I ride. If people get turned around that easily, seems to me they need to work on some basic nav skills. Lol.

    I was amused one day at dupont. I was at the lake imaging parking lot about to start a ride. I had my paper pisgah map co map out and my wife and I were discussing possible routes (so much easier to do with a paper map). A random lady approached me to extol the virtues of MTBP. I wish I had been wearing my MTBP jersey that they sent me for free because I've contributed so many trails to their database.

    FWIW, I requested the lidar data for the area with the engine. They said it could take as much as 24hrs to prepare.

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    Iíve always been a paper map guy, and Iím good at navigating, but unfortunately I canít use paper maps for what Iím trying to do. Iíve never used anything digital for biking. Itís a whole new frontier for me. Thanks for you input.


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    Quote Originally Posted by mbmb65 View Post
    Iíve always been a paper map guy, and Iím good at navigating, but unfortunately I canít use paper maps for what Iím trying to do. Iíve never used anything digital for biking. Itís a whole new frontier for me. Thanks for you input.


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    Don't get me wrong, I still carry a paper map. Technology can fail. Always have a backup.

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    We finally went and tried to locate it, we bushwhacked a fair bit around the area surrounding the switchbacks. We walked pretty far down the ravine that follows Mullinax leading up to the switchbacks, but didn't see anything there.

    Maybe it'd be easier to locate in the winter with the leaves off the trees, but we looked for a fair bit and couldn't find anything.

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    Hmmmm, not seeing much but admittedly didn't hunt too hard. Check it out. Also check out all the logging roads still present in the topography out there.



    https://imgur.com/a/eraJDwR

    PM me if you want me to email a higher res version.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Lithified View Post
    Hmmmm, not seeing much but admittedly didn't hunt too hard. Check it out. Also check out all the logging roads still present in the topography out there.



    https://imgur.com/a/eraJDwR

    PM me if you want me to email a higher res version.
    Hmmm. I poured over the high resolution image today and I didn't see anything recognizable. Oh well.

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    Not related to squirrel, but possibly to the history of trails in the forest:

    Does anyone know the origin of the concrete slabs on Buckhorn Gap trail between Clawhammer Rd and Avery Creek trail. There are at least two places where it appears some man made slabs exist, they donít appear natural but the makeup of the material is different than Iíve seen before.

    The sections exist between the three way intersection riding down from Clawhammer, shortly after the trail turns rocky. The first one is before a stream crossing and part of it has eroded away. The second one is after a horse crossing and climbs up before a root ball, somewhat steeply. It seems like an odd place for it, too narrow to be a road and definitely not something I normally run across in the forest.

    Quote Originally Posted by Timothy G. Parrish View Post
    Hmmm. I poured over the high resolution image today and I didn't see anything recognizable. Oh well.
    Iím convinced at this point it has either been covered up over the last 9 years since the original post, the location is incorrect, or it doesnít exist. Iím going with the former, but Iíve gone hunting for it several times to no avail. I know others that have done the same, not finding any trace of it inside that ravine. Iíd love to see photos or have more specific location info, but Iíve given up finding it until possibly late winter when visibility is better, Iíll give it one more shot then.

  107. #107
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    The OP came back and said the engine on Mullinax was a diesel engine. Could have been used to winch logs or just dumped, eitehr way, probably not that big and really not that interesting. Same goes to the "engine" off of 215. What is it really? Just an old boiler that ran a winch or something? Is it even there? Sounds like 3rd hand info to me.

    If there was anything truly valuable out there (ie, an abandoned locomotive) I would think that the forestry service would have recovered it when setting up the cradle of forestry site back in the day. Especailly since the train they have was sourced from a site in Michigan and trucked down.

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