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 http://www.carolinabirdclub.org/birdingnc/white_pines.html. For more on

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

North Carolina,” Mountaineers Press.


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