Tuesday, June 28, 2016

War Spur Trail

I have visited the Mountain Lake area a number of times. And every time I go up there I always mean to hike the War Spur Trail to the overlook, and each time something keeps me from accomplishing that goal. So, this time I was determined to do the hike. It's an easy one. Very little in elevation gain or loss. Except for a couple of hills, it's pretty much a level hike without even much in the way of rocky terrain. At a little over two miles, there's nothing difficult about it, at all.

Most of the trail is located within the Mountain Lake Wilderness Area, administered by the National Forest Service and protected from development and abuse by an act of Congress. The place is pretty much about as green as a place can be. You're already very high...close to 4,000 feet above sea level, and you find yourself exploring a forest mainly of northern hardwoods with a few evergreens mixed in, those being mainly Eastern hemlocks. For some reason there are a lot of healthy hemlock trees in the wilderness. Either some party has been up there treating them against the hemlock woolly adelgid, or the winters are severe enough that the bugs can't survive to kill the trees.

As I said, the hike is very easy. I didn't even feel the need to carry any water with me. All I took was my camera, a hiking staff, and some camera accessories. If you like ferns, parts of the trail passes through some lush expanses of those, some quite large (almost chest-high).

Carole waited in the truck while I journeyed to the overlook and wound my way back to complete the loop hike. It was very easy and I barely broke a sweat.

At the trail head.

Classic National Forest wilderness designation sign.

There were lots of these little American chestnuts throughout the forest.

Ferns and a world of green.

The rhododendron were in bloom!

Part of the view from the War Spur Overlook.

Time for a selfie at the overlook.

Good signage along the trails.
Video of the hike along the War Spur Loop, and a visit to the nearby Mountain Lake Lodge (where "Dirty Dancing" was filmed in the 1980s.

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