April in WNC
By Missy Schenck
Spring Fun in WNC
Spring has sprung and outdoor adventures are calling. Here are some of the Western North Carolina offerings.
For a fun and adventurous hike, Nace Few, an avid outdoor enthusiast with REI in Asheville, recommends this hike in the Green River Game Lands.
Take I-26 to the Saluda exit, #59. Go north away from Saluda on Holbert Cove Road. Take the very first left on Green River Cove Road. From there you go down a very steep, curvy road. Immediately after crossing the Green River, park on the right and the trail begins directly across the road from the parking area.
After a short climb up, the trail levels out, and less than 1/4 mile in, a trail turns very sharply uphill to the right. If you turn up that trail, you do the loop counterclockwise. I prefer walking the loop in that direction, and you end up coming out along Green River walking downstream back to the little parking lot. If instead you stay to the left on the trail, you will be walking upstream along the Green River in the beginning, and the trail is somewhat easier to follow in that direction.
About 8.5 miles total, this trail has a good bit of elevation gain in either direction, and Bear Branch Trail in the middle makes a nice shortcut that would cut the total hike down by about a mile and a half.
For more information, search for “Green River Game Lands Loop 2” on www.hikingproject.com.
Pisgah National Forest offers a wide variety of activities. Study their listing and closures online.
The Cradle of Forestry located within the Pisgah National Forest is full of educational opportunities and information.
Driving the Blue Ridge Parkway is a breathtakingly beautiful experience and one everyone should experience, particularly when spring is popping out everywhere. The parkway follows the spine of the Appalachian Mountains and ranges in elevation from 650 to 6,000 feet. The roadway runs 469 miles, connecting Shenandoah National Park in Virginia with the Great Smoky Mountains National park near Cherokee, North Carolina. The story of the parkway is as interesting as the scenery and worth reading.
DuPont State Forest is a wonderful site for hiking and fishing. Located in Cedar Mountain, the waterfalls in DuPont are the most beautiful, easy-to-access falls in N.C. Three of them — Hooker, High and Triple Falls — are clustered together on the Little River and are about a 20-minute walk from the parking area. The fourth waterfall, Bridal Veil, is also on the Little River and about an hour hike.
Panthertown Valley, a beautiful 6,300-acre valley is a spectacular land of mountains, streams, waterfalls, rare mountain bogs and a wide variety of flora and fauna. The valley takes its name from Panthertown Creek, a meandering creek that is the headwaters of the Tuckasegee River, a fabulous site for fly fishing.
Backcountry style recreation is the hallmark of Gorges State Park with distance hiking, camping, trout fishing, mountain biking and horseback riding. Gorges is a 7,709-acre park in Transylvania County, N.C., and along with other conservation lands is part of a 100,000-acre conservation corridor stretching 80 miles along the N.C./S.C. state line. Visit https://www.ncparks.gov/gorges-state-park/home for more information.
April fly fishing tip
From Hannah Myers of Headwaters Outfitters: Dry fly addict? Now is your time! Swarms of hatches will be coming off throughout the day, offering very solid days for dry flies. A quick tip for a better “button-up” while fishing dries: Unlike setting a hook while nymph fishing, which has to be lightning fast, slow down your hook set. Let the fish rise to your dry, take the eat then give it a one-two count, THEN set the hook. Far too often anglers pull the fly out of the fish’s mouth by setting too quickly.
Dry flies to have in the box: BWO, March Brown, Quill Gordon, Blue Quill, Hendrickson, Terrestrials, assorted Midges.
Missy Craver Izard was born and raised in Charleston, South Carolina. She resides in Flat Rock, North Carolina with her husband, Sandy Schenck, where their family runs a summer camp.