Ohhhhh I am beside myself with excitement to tell you about our latest adventure. We went to Bent Creek Experimental Forest and explored the Ledford Road Trail.
Blossom said that she didn’t have enough time to drive very far for our adventure, so, she took us Bent Creek because it’s only a 20 minute drive from our house.
There are sooooo many trails there. I can’t wait to explore all of them!
To get there, take 191 and turn on Bent Creek Ranch Road. The signs are clear, so, you can just follow them. You’ll pass the NC Arboretum on your left. Drive to the first right turn and follow that to the parking lot for the Ledford Road Trail.
Ledford Road is a gated Forest Service road that is closed to motorized vehicles. Compared to some of the Forest Service roads that we drove on when we were out west, particularly in Montana and Wyoming, this road is nice! Fortunately, no one is allowed to drive on this road, so, it’s nothing but fresh air and exercise!
The road steadily climbs uphill for a while, but, it’s an easy grade — nothing steep. Then it winds and rolls gently up and down.
To explain the map above, the green line is the public road. I highlighted where we drove and then the “X” marks where the trail begins. It’s very obvious: a gated dirt road. The gold line is where we walked along the road. I hope it makes sense, but, if it doesn’t remember, I’m just a dog. For better maps of Bent Creek, visit www.mtbikewnc.com. (They are clearly not dogs.)
Do yourself a favor and get a trail map. Blossom won’t ever get one of these handy things. If we had the map, we would have known how the road loops back around. We actually did know that it looped, but, we weren’t sure how long the loop would take or exactly where the loop would come out. So, as you can see from the map above, we walked to the boundary and when we saw a “Private Property” sign, Blossom exclaimed something about something called “laundry” — saying she had so much to do. This was our alert that we needed to turn around and head back toward the car.
I have no complaints though. It was still a little over 2 hours of running through the woods, splashing in the creek, rolling in stinky goodness and ooooh… I almost forgot! We saw horses. I don’t know how many, maybe 6? I’ve seen them a few times, but, I never know quite how to act. THIS time was different, there were people on top of them and, I dunno, maybe that made me feel better. But, I didn’t get all scared; I pretended everything was normal.
Miles went into action trying to herd them. Blossom was worried about how the horses would react to him, but, they could care less. Blossom held Miles as they all passed and told me how proud she was of me. 🙂
While Blossom was a work today, I got online and researched a little about Bent Creek Experimental Forest so that I could share that information with you. Within the forest boundaries, you’ll find the NC Arboretum and Lake Powhatan Recreational Area. It is bordered by the Blue Ridge Parkway to the east and south.
It is the oldest federal experimental forest east of the Mississippi River and is nearly 6,000 acres within the Pisgah National Forest.
[excerpt from the Forestry Service site] “It was established in 1925 for the purpose of conducting research on silvicultural practices that would aid in the rehabilitation of cutover, abused lands and promote sustainable forestry, and also to provide a field demonstration of forest management practices. Long-term and current research conducted at the Bent Creek Experimental Forest provides land managers with science-based information and methods to meet their forest management and restoration goals. Demonstration areas and research studies at the Bent Creek Experimental Forest provide a hands-on way to see the results of different forest management practices and deliver new research findings to land managers, landowners, researchers, students, and the general public.”
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