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Old Nov 30, 2012, 6:38 PM   #1
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Default Another Rocky Fork Hike

Was out checking out Rocky Fork Wilderness Area just a few days before the big announcement about our newest State Park. Looking over potential locations to take the dignitaries, if their time permitted (unfortunately, they did not have the time for a good hike...)

We tried out a different path, an old logging road we'd never tried before. It offers the quickest way from Lower Higgins Creek up to Birchfield Camp Lake, and was said to be very steep, but not hard to find...
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Old Nov 30, 2012, 6:41 PM   #2
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First part of the hike was over familiar territory. Lower Higgins Creek is one of our favorite corners of the wilderness area. We did not pause for many photos (didn't even stop at the big falls this time!), but here are some views of one of the MANY creek crossings...

(PS - which perspective do you prefer?)
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Old Nov 30, 2012, 6:43 PM   #3
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Lower Higgins Creek Trail continues on up towards Clark's Creek, Bumpass Cove, etc. But we turned off on a side trail, after one more creek crossing...
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Old Nov 30, 2012, 6:46 PM   #4
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Birchfield Camp Prong is named for the logging camp once located here, which in turn was named for the numerous Birch trees in the area. Our "trail" pretty much followed the creek all the way up the ridge - we were glad that autumn is a time of low water!

There was one lovely little waterfall part way up the Prong - we hope to return in late winter or early spring to enjoy it at a time of fuller flow...
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Old Nov 30, 2012, 6:47 PM   #5
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The higher we climbed, the thicker grew the fog - Rocky Fork is a rich, damp habitat!
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Old Nov 30, 2012, 6:49 PM   #6
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Fog sure gemmed the spiderwebs, and even dampened this little banded grasshopper. Usually too speedy for a good snapshot, the cool fog slowed him down a bit.
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Old Nov 30, 2012, 6:51 PM   #7
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We were surprised to see both our native Birch species in the same area. We usually expect Yellow Birch at the lower elevations, and Black Birch up higher. But apparently the microclimate created by Birchcamp Prong allows both to survive together.
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Old Nov 30, 2012, 6:54 PM   #8
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We knew we were getting close to the end of the trail when we came upon this reminder of the logging days. I don't think it will be hauling any logs out of the mountains any time soon!
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Old Nov 30, 2012, 6:56 PM   #9
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The trail (and the creek) end at a small (about 10 acres) man-made lake - Birchfield Camp Lake - built as a source of water for fire control many years ago. We had hoped for some good views across the lake and up to Frozen Knob, but it's hard to see through such thick fog!
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Old Nov 30, 2012, 6:58 PM   #10
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Best views were near-at-hand - the bright Maple foliage nurtured by all this moisture.
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