Bushwhack to Blackrock February 2, 2013Posted by Jenny in bushwhacking, hiking, nature.
Tags: Blackrock, Fisher Creek, Plott Balsams
Today my hiking companion Chris and I followed the right fork of the East Fork of Fisher Creek and nearby ridges to reach the crest of the Plott Balsam ridge just west of Blackrock. The day turned out more wintry than we expected, but the ice formations around the stream made it worthwhile to hike on a cold day.
We followed my usual shortcut to the East Fork trail and left the trail below the big waterfall. We took pictures as we climbed up right next to the falls. As explained in my earlier post, there is no side trail to the falls except to a point at the top where you can’t actually see the water cascading down.
The junction of the left and right forks of the East Fork is just above the waterfall. We headed up to the right, staying in or near the stream.
We discovered another cascade at around 4500′.
We climbed up to a rock outcrop at the upper lip of the cascade and looked down the stream valley.
We got into thick laurel near the stream, so angled over to a broad ridge that led across the old grade from Parris Branch and up to the cross-trail that people use to get from the West or East Fork trails to the steep rough path that leads up to the crest of the Plotts. We went past that trail looking for a certain fork in the old logging grades that would serve as a jumping off point to head up to Blackrock. But the fork was hidden in the laurel (we found it on our way back down), and we just started climbing up the slope. We ended up hitting the trail just where it emerges on the main ridgecrest and did the short walk over to the summit of Blackrock.
The forecast had been for “chance of snow” in the late afternoon, but it was already snowing fairly hard when we reached the summit. The top was socked in and blasted by winds, so we didn’t linger there very long, but retreated to a cave for a snack break. We descended to the trailhead to find road conditions deteriorating and snowy winter weather taking over the landscape. It was a fine outing.