7/6/2013 – Grouse Point, Parrywinkle Falls, South Fork Roaring River

Date of Hike: 7/6/2013
Location of Hike: Grouse Point Trail
Trail Number: 517
Weather during Hike: Sunny
Hiking Buddies: Paul, Brian and Kirk
Start Time: 9:45 AM
End Time: 4:00 PM
Hike Distance: 4.6 miles
Pictures: Link
Hike Map:


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Description of Hike:
Today’s hike was setup by a couple of hiker friends, Brian and Paul. Paul was the one who took me on the “death march” a few years ago. It was a great trip, but it was quite a stretch for me to do. I think the day ended up as 19 miles and 5000′ of elevation gain. I made it, but it took a lot out of me.

Anyway, the plan for the day was to hike part of the Grouse Point trail, see Parrywinkle Falls on the Roaring River, then cross the river and head up the other side of the canyon. At some point, we were going to bail off the trail and head over to the South Fork of the Roaring River to see it and also to see if we could find any remnants of the elusive 511 trail or a waterfall that was supposed to be near the confluence of the two rivers.

We got a little bit of a late start and had a bit of a time finding it, but ended up at the trailhead a little before 10:00. The trail starts at the end of the driveable section of the 4611 road. From there you head down the remnants of the road a bit to the actual trailhead, which really doesn’t have much of a sign, just some flagging and an old shot up post (which probably used to have a sign on it before some yahoos decided it would be fun to shoot it to pieces). The trail starts relatively easily, but quickly descends into the Roaring River canyon, losing elevation quickly. In no time we were at the Roaring River and headed upstream to see Parrywinkle falls. It is pretty much a bushwhack to the falls, but it wasn’t too difficult. Parrywinkle falls is a very interesting waterfall – not too large, but an interesting setting:

Here is a photo of the falls with Paul wading the river in front of it:

And a photo of the very interesting sign:

And finally, a view of the Roaring River downstream of the falls:

After enjoying the view of the falls, we noodled a bit as to how we were going to cross the river. Paul had already gone over and back up near the falls. Brian and I had not come quite as well prepared, and so opted to cross on a log near the trail crossing. As luck would have it, there was a cedar tree that went all the way across the river. Brian was brave enough to walk across the entire log. I walked about halfway, and then sat down and “scooted” across the rest of the way. At the end, while I was trying to get off, I slipped a bit and ripped my pants on one of the broken limbs. I got a scratch on the back of my leg, but nothing (other than my dignity) was really hurt. With all of us successfully across the river, we headed up the Grouse Point trail – up the other side of the Roaring River. When we got to what we thought was a good area, in a relatively level place, we headed off trail, east to the South Fork of the Roaring River. This was a river I have never seen, and is not easy to get to, as there is no trail that goes to it. The only way to see it is to bushwhack your way in. We made it to the South Fork, and crossed on a big log jam (not a great photo of the logjam, but it was BIG):

We explored around on the far side of the river for a while, and did a little looking for any evidence of the 511 trail, but found none. I think we probably didn’t go uphill enough. We also headed upriver looking for the waterfall, but we didn’t see any. It was sunny on the north side of the river and it was getting warm, so we decided to cross back over the river on another log and have lunch in a nice shady spot – this was our view:

After having lunch and watering up for the trip back, we packed up and headed back the way we came. On the way back up to the Grouse Point Trail, I saw this tree:

Which has to be one of the trees from the fire so many years ago (1920s?). When it was alive, it was a BIG tree.

Once we found the trail again, we made pretty good time back to the Roaring River. We all crossed the same way we came over – Paul and Kirk waded across and Brian and I crossed on the log. Once back across the river, it was time to regain all that elevation that we lost on the way down. It was tough, especially being at the end of the day. I continue to have breathing issues when doing serious elevation gain like this. I have to stop way more than I would like to catch my breath, but I eventually made it. I was at the back of the pack…..

It was a great day, with great company and great weather. Couldn’t ask for a better day in the woods.

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