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Rod's Raven Rock Hike 2013

posted Nov 9, 2013, 2:54 PM by Justin P   [ updated Nov 9, 2013, 5:14 PM ]

Today was Rod Broadbelt’s annual hike in Raven Rock State Park.  The hike started at 8, but it’s over an hour drive to the park so I left at 630 and got to the park a few minutes before opening.  The rangers had just opened the gate when I arrived and I followed the line of cars in to the old parking lot.  All or nearly all of the early arrivals were for Rod’s hike.  After everyone signed in and Rod gave a quick overview of the planned hike, we took off on the Campbell Creek Loop Trail.  It was very cold when we started out and I was bundled up with several layers.  It’s too bad the first part of the trail is downhill so I couldn’t warm up during the coldest part of the hike.  The trail heads down to Campbell Creek with a gradual but steady downhill slope.  Along the trail, many of the leaves had already fallen.  While there was some color left, it was clearly past peak.  We crossed Campbell Creek on the nice footbridge and turned left, following the creek downstream towards Cape Fear River.  Stopping at the river’s edge, I took a couple of pictures.  The river was beautiful today – very smooth, making perfect reflections of the trees on the other side, with some remaining fog hovering over the surface. 

Cape Fear River

But I couldn’t stop for long.  Rod likes to keep things going quickly for cardiovascular benefit.  Continuing on Campbell Creek Trail, we took the short spur trail to Lanier Falls and got some quick photos and then continued on the loop. 

Lanier Falls

Eventually, we got back to the footbridge and made our way back up to the parking lot.  It had warmed up by now and I was wearing layers, so going uphill was making me start to sweat.  Funny, considering how cold I was a couple hours ago.  But we were soon back at the parking lot and I was able to drop the extra layers off in the car.  After regrouping, we hiked down Raven Rock Loop Trail, taking the Northington Ferry Trail.  The goal today is to hike pretty much all the trails in the park, at least on this side of the river.  About halfway down Northington Ferry Trail, we stopped at the Jesse Northington grave marker, just off the trail and turned around where the trail terminates at the Cape Fear River.  This turnaround point is right across Campbell Creek from where we had stopped earlier in the hike.  Next, we turned left to hike down Fish Traps Trail to the Fish Traps, interesting exposed rock in the river.

Cape Fear River

Fish Traps

Finally, we headed back to Raven Rock Trail.  I was getting hungry by this point and looking forward to getting to the park’s namesake, where we each lunch.  We stopped briefly at the overlook and then headed down the 98 steep and narrow stairs to the base of Raven Rock.

View from Overlook

We went all the way down to a nice spot to sit and have lunch under the rock and then made our way back to the steps.  It’s a lot harder going up, but at least I had eaten.  Back at the top, we finished up by taking Little Creek Loop Trail, opting to skip the Group Camp Trail and head back.

Raven Rock
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