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White Pines & Morrow Mountain

posted Sep 25, 2011, 5:14 AM by Justin P
Yesterday, we started our plan to do monthly hikes from Joe Miller's book, 100 Classic Hikes in NC.  This month, we tackled hikes 35 and 44.  We started with White Pines Nature Preserve, south of Pittsboro.  From the parking lot, we hiked the Gilbert Yager Trail to add a little distance to this hike.  Then we turned right onto White Pines Trail and then right again onto the River Trail until we reached the Deep River.  We followed the River Trail to where the Deep and Rocky Rivers meet then turned left to continue along the River Trail along the Rocky River.  At the end, we took the short Schoolkids Trail in a short loop to see the remnants of the Old Cable Bridge.  We took the River Trail back up to the White Pines Trail and back to the parking lot to complete this hike.

Leaving White Pines, we headed into Albemarle, NC and had lunch before starting our next hike at Morrow Mountain.  We parked at the Horse Trailer parking lot and hiked the Sugarloaf Mountain Trail in the counterclockwise direction until intersecting the Morrow Mountain Trail.  We followed this surprisingly strenuous trail up to the summit of Morrow Mountain.  A short section of this trail has nearly 500 feet of elevation gain in a half mile.  At the top we headed over to the scenic overlook for some pictures then took the Mountain Loop Trail around the summit to meet up with the Morrow Mountain Trail to head back down.  It was just as difficult going back down - this time hard on the knees instead of the lungs.  When we met back up with the Sugarloaf Trail, we turned right and traveled a while before another steep slope up to the top of Sugarloaf Mountain.  We went the opposite direction as suggested by Joe Miller and know I know why he suggested the way he did - the Sugarloaf Trail is much steeper going counterclockwise.  At the top of Sugarloaf Mountain, it started to rain a bit, so we quickly headed down the more gradual slope down the mountain and back to the parking lot.  Back in Cary, we had beer and wings and celebrated completing the first two of one hundred hikes from the book.