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White Pines Hike - Sunday April 14

Posted on Wed, Apr 3, 2013

meet at the Church at 4PM, we will return and have supper at 6PM

Please signup at Church 

White Pines Nature Preserve

Chatham County

Getting there: From the traffic circle in Pittsboro, head south. Cross the Rocky River at 7 miles;

proceed another mile up the hill and go left on River Fork Road (SR 1958). The road Ts: take an

immediate right. The road turns to gravel after 1.2 miles; at mile 1.6 go right at the stop sign.

The road veers left after 0.6 miles (a driveway veers right). Go another 0.3 miles to the

trailhead/parking area.

Size of property: 276 acres

Miles of trail: 3.5 (Gilbert Yager Trail, 1.1; River Trail, 1.0; White Pines Trail, 0.8; Schoolkids

Trail, 0.4; Comet Trail, 0.2).

Reason to visit by season: Summer: cool north-facing bluffs that make it possible for the white

pines to survive have been known to knock off up to 10 degrees from the temperature in nearby

Pittsboro; Winter: Naked canopy and understory offer sightlines underscoring the magnitude of

the preserve’s 100-foot bluffs. Spring: Wildflower display includes Catesby’s trillium, trout lily,

bloodroot, Jack-in-the-pulpit and Dutchman’s britches. Fall: Though known for its namesake

evergreen, the property also hosts a mature southern hardwood forest with good autumn color.

Kids: The diversity of White Pines help keeps a child’s attention. One moment you’re staring up

the trunk of a massive white pine or beech tree, the next you’re negotiating a tight passage

between rock outcrop and the Rocky River, the next you’re checking out wetlands that,

especially in a kid’s mind, say mysterious swamp. Plan your hike to save the best for last: At the

far loop of the Schoolkids Trail is a length of old, rusted cable (a portion of which runs through

the side of a tree). Intriguing on its own, all the more so when you reveal it was once part of a

cable bridge kids used to cross the river to get to school.

Protection status: White Pines was the first property purchased by the Triangle Land

Conservancy, in 1986. The initial purchase was 258 acres; the preserve has since expanded to

275 acres.

Additional information: For a sense of bird life in the preserve, check out this report from the

Carolina Bird Club For more on

hiking the preserve, see Hike No. 44 White Pines Nature Preserve in “100 Classic Hikes in

North Carolina,” Mountaineers Press.