Monday, December 14, 2015

December 7, 2015 - Grassy Meadow Trail, DuPont State Forest

Today we wanted to check out another area of the forest.  The trail we picked - the Grassy Meadow Trail - is off of the far end of Joanna Rd.  We could have parked at the High Falls access and hiked to the trail the same way we did for the other trails off of Joanna Rd, but we decided to start from the other end of Joanna Rd and hike in from that side. 

This end of Joanna Rd is off of Pinnacle Mountain Rd which is near the Fawn Lake parking area of DuPont.  This road isn't on DuPont property, but is a public road.  It's gravel and sections of it were in pretty bad shape.  I'm not sure if I would bring a 2 wheel drive passenger vehicle down this road, but our Outback did fine.  The road passes through private property before getting to the DuPont property.  Just in case you don't know, purple paint on trees means private property and landowners are allowed to use the paint to replace 'No Trespassing' signs.  Joanna Rd is on the left about 3.3 miles down Pinnacle Mountain Rd.  There's no nice wooden sign like on the other trails we've been on, just a faded yellow metal post and large boulders placed to block 4x4's from using the trail.

The trail is really rocky at this end and not wide enough for a vehicle like the last section we were on.  The elevation drops about 200' before reaching the intersection of the Grassy Meadow Trail a little more than 3/4 of a mile from the trail head.  We began hearing Briery Fork Creek on our left about 10 minutes into the hike.  Soon after that we crossed 2 small tributaries.  The second was a little tricky since water levels were still a bit high, but we managed to get across without getting our feet wet.  The trail improved quite a bit by the time we reached the right turn for the Grassy Meadow Trail.

Joanna Rd at Grassy Meadow Trail

The Grassy Meadow Trail itself is a really nice trail listed as .83 miles in length.  It begins by heading uphill slightly, then crosses a fairly wide tributary of Briery Fork Creek.  We were able to keep our feet dry by crossing on some rocks just up creek from the trail.  In this area we spotted some sphagnum moss that had turned a nice reddish color. 

After the creek crossing, the trail enters a field then descends and meets back up with Joanna Rd.  Turning left would take us back to our vehicle.  On the way in, we spotted a bedrock area in the woods right where the Grassy Meadow Trail split from Joanna Rd.  It was lunch time, so we decided to eat there.  The rock was quite interesting with colonies of different mosses and lichens growing on it. 

moss and lichen
moss and lichen podetia

If you come across areas like this, please tread lightly!  It takes years for these delicate plants to get established.  In that last picture above, the cup shaped podetia are the fruiting bodies of the lichen.  They can come in different shapes and are quite interesting looking!

It was still early afternoon when we got back to the vehicle (and back on pavement), so we decided to make a quick stop at the Lake Imaging access of DuPont.  Cindy wanted to check out the lake to see if it would be a good photo subject in the snow.  The lake is only a few minutes up the trail and a very easy walk to get to.  It's nice, but we both agreed that Lake Alford would look better with a fresh blanket of snow.  If it ever does snow, we'll head there first.

Lake Imaging

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