Trail Report: 423 Gauley Ridge – slate lick fire break trail 02/27/18

February 27, 2018

Today I spent a lot of time exploring. Simon was also not focused at all and a little bit annoying. I think I refer to him as a donkey in the video a couple times. But it was another unseasonably nice day, sunny, and I felt like exploring.

I parked at the top of Turner Run in the circle. I was happy to see all the butchered hog parts were gone! But at one of the pull overs before the circle there was tons of new trash. Shame. So I parked, hopped on, and off Simon and I went on up the fire road, 423 Gauley Ridge behind the closed gate.

From the parking lot there is a trail just to the right of the fire road, over a berm. Carol Ann and I rode it back about a month ago and it was rather over grown in spots and had a few rough downed logs. I do note it in the video. And I. The photo below I note the other end of it. It is marked on forest service maps as well. It has a fallen FS gate, and you know I love those. But this was not a trail for today. So on we went.

I did stop at the first camping circle on the right. It’s a decent little circle with a nice Little Rock pile fire pit. Behind it is an old trail head. I thought this was a connecting old trail head I explored in the past. So I explored it again. Nope it was note. I show this in the video. It is an old trail/logging road of sorts and it’s not bad at all until a point. But that’s all it is. Short and blah.

So back to the main fire road and on we go.

A camp area to the right. Dave’s turnpike. The marker is knocked down but still there. It has a road that wraps down a ways then dead ends. Nothing exciting. A canoe area on the right, just off the road. A side fire road with gate closed to the left. Then a camp circle to the left and the. Up a hill.

There is a small pull over to the left at the top of the hill, it sort of faces the other way. It has a trail off the back. This runs along above the fire road off shoot and then wraps down to Slate Lick.

Just past this is the “fire break” trail. That’s what I am calling it. I am not sure it was actually meant to be a fire break but it appeared right around the time there was a fire back there and the fire was on the right hand side but not the left hand side of the trail which was put in using equipment. It is super easy to miss going up the road, much easier to see going back down.

It’s rocky and becomes steep. Relatively straight, it heads down. You can see evidence of the old fire to the right, and also a decent view at one point. It was a bit steep for me to be snapping photos or taking video at that point. Simon was sure he didn’t need to keep going and also needed encouragement to pay attention.

At the bottom bare slightly right, and then down a hill to the creek bed. Here the trail goes in two directions. I get very excited in the video because you can see plenty of marking tape up in both directions. The first time I was down here the fire break did not exist yet and I followed the original trail to the right along the creek up to the fire road. That was coming up from slate lick.

Today I wanted to get to slate lick so across the creek and to the left, onto the very clear trail, which also is marked clearly with marker tape.

Back and forth a few times across the creek and along the side of it. At one point you have the option to stay straight (the creek is to your right here) and take an old logging road up above the creek or bare right and cross the creek and continue along that way. These basically run parallel, one on either side of the creek.

I rode the logging path years ago and it was over grown but it looked much clearer now. That said, I took the creek side trail.

Eventually the trail runs out at the back corner of slate lick lake. There is a well marked tree on the left side of the creek that marks a trail to go up the hill. It pops out to the side of the lake. Ta-da!

I would take this path back UP from the lake vs down to the lake. But since I couldn’t remember exactly where this trail came out I had to ride it down to find its end. Next time here I want to ride the other trail (which I passed on the fire road just before reaching the “fire break trail”) and will take that down and then this back up.

I rode up and around to take in the view. Woooooo.

*in the photo below the trail to go back up to Gauley Ridge is just to the left right about there that first small ever green is.

Then turned around to head back. Going back into the woods to head back to the creek there is a split in the trail (immediately entering the woods). Go left and it’s the steep down to the creek we took to get up from behind the lake. Or bare straight/right and follow the marking tape and trail through leaf litter which dumps us at a much nicer creek crossing back to the creek side trail. I assume there was a way to continue straight and onto the logging trail that I did not see.

So on we go.

I went back up the way I went down, the fire break trail. But I wish I had stayed on the creek trail. When I got back to the fire road I did go left and looked for where it comes out but did. It find it. I was getting tired and Simon was really not interested in going on so we called it and started for home.

I spent lots of time zig zagging around and enjoying myself. And admittedly, we did not make good time at all today. Lots of ambling and strolling along. It was a good day.

check out the three part video blog if you like. I ramble on a lot but you can see the trail at different points. I try to focus on all the turns.

Videos

Video 1 of 3

Video 2 of 3

Video 3 of 3

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