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Rod's Raven Rock Hike

posted Nov 10, 2012, 4:29 PM by Justin P
This morning I went with Rod Broadbelt to hike at Raven Rock State Park.  I was a little late arriving at the park due to construction on NC-55 driving down there, so as soon as I arrived, we headed out on the Campbell Creek Loop Trail.  Starting the hike, I was at the back of the group, since I arrived late and as we reached the footbridge about half a mile in, the people ahead of me turned left, so I followed.  In the back of my mind, I thought that Rod usually goes the other way, but continued following.  We went about 2 miles through the loop, past the Family Wilderness Camp and to the Lanier Falls Trail.  Arriving here, we saw Rod and the others coming from the other direction.  So we had gone the wrong way.  But luckily, its about the same distance either way, so we met up and headed down to the "falls" for a quick view, then back up to the main trail.  I led the group coming back the other way, so we didn't have to backtrack.  When we got to where Campbell Creek feeds into the Cape Fear River, we stopped for a quick view of the river, then followed the trail upstream along its namesake creek.  This was a particularly scenic stretch of trail, with quite a bit of fall color showing along the creek.  When we got back to the bridge and finished up the loop, we took the trail back up and stopped at the Visitor Center to use the facilities and regrouped at the parking lot.  Heading down the Raven Rock Loop Trail, we went straight on Fish Traps Trail and almost immediately turned on Northington Ferry Trail.  About half-way down this trail, there is a grave marker for Jesse Northington just off the trail.  Mr. Northington had owned the lock and dam that provided transportation across the Cape Fear River on the route between Raleigh and Fayetteville.  Eventually a bridge was built and the lock and dam were destroyed in a hurricane.  Continuing on, we stopped briefly at the end of the trail for another view of the Cape Fear River then backtracked along the trail and turned right to go down to Fish Traps.  I went down and was able to jump across to the first rock on the FIsh Traps, but couldn't get any further.  The water level of the river must be up, because I had easily been able to get our further on past visits.  I went back up and met up with everyone at the end of the trail where there were good views of the Northington Dam and Lock remains stretching across the river.  We headed back up Fish Traps Trail and turned onto Raven Rock Loop Trail and briefly stopped at the overlook to enjoy the views and take some pictures, then headed down to Raven Rock and had lunch on the rocks.  By this time, we had been hiking for close to four hours so I was quite hungry and ready to eat.  After that we headed back up the steps and did the Little Creek Loop Trail.  We stopped at the Canoe Camp for one last view of the Cape Fear River and then headed back, skipping the spur trail to the Group Camp.  Along the way back, the Little Creek Loop Trail follows its namesake creek and was another particularly scenic section of trail.  We picked a good weekend to visit.  While the foliage may have been just a bit past peak foliage, it was a very beautiful hike.