Hiking Wilson Creek generates a bigger buzz than usual

Huntfish Falls has a generous swimming hole at its base.

Once a week, and sometimes twice, I lead a hike through GetHiking! Triangle. I enjoy every hike, often for different reasons. Sometimes it’s for the views, sometimes for a particularly scenic stretch, sometimes for a seasonal treat, such as wildflowers. Always, I look forward to hiking with friends, including ones I’ve yet to meet.
I’m a little more excited than usual, though, about this Saturday’s hike in the Wilson Creek area at the base of the Blue Ridge escarpment below Grandfather Mountain. It’s a deceptive area: it doesn’t have elevation in mountain numbers; rather, what it does have, it has in concentration. Steep climbs, steep descents, lots of rock, lots of water. It’s exhilarating, occasionally exasperating (the trails aren’t always well marked or easy to follow). The topography is extreme.
As I was planning this trip — about eight miles on the North Harper Creek and Harper Creek trails — I came across a trip report from 2011 on our sister site, nchikes.com. It comes from husband-and-wife explorers Juli and Keith Spring, who hiked a nearby section of Wilson Creek as part of the “Backpacking North Carolina Challenge.” The report is short, but gives a good feel for the Wilson Creek experience. It starts below, and makes for a nice, quick escape on a Tuesday.
Enjoy!

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Juli and Keith Spring

Congratulations to Keith and Juli Gibson Spring, the first hikers to take on the Backpacking North Carolina Challenge. Keith and Juli did Trip No. 8 in “Backpacking North Carolina,” the Hunt Fish Falls Loop in the Wilson Creek Area, a hike that Juli, the more avid backpacker of the Durham couple, had been hesitant to take because of reports that the trail was hard to follow, a common lament of the Wilson Creek area.

Juli usually backpacks with some girlfriends (they’ve been doing a couple of trips a year for the past 10 to 15 years; their email list now totals about 25), but convinced Keith to tag along on a recent scouting trip of the area. Here’s how their trip went.

“Our plan was to hike in to the first camping area downstream, about 1.5 miles in. Then we would hike one loop with the remainder of the day on Saturday and the other loop on Sunday.”

Before they reached the trailhead, an ominous feeling befell Juli.

“You know that nagging feeling you get when you know you forgot something important? Like, hiking boots?” Read more here.

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