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The Trail to Yupaha

June 21, 2011, Yupaha – It was a magnificent Summer Solstice in the Georgia Mountains.  There was barely a cloud in the sky. After hoeing my little garden next to the former egg hatchery in which I was “camped out,”  I decided to celebrate the arrival of summer by taking the three canine musketeers for a hike near the source of the Nantahala River in North Carolina. It was in a 3,600 feet high gap along US 64 between Murphy and Franklin.  It had been the dogs’ favorite camp site a year earlier when we were living in a tent.

The little chicken hatchery was only about a mile from Track Rock Gap Road.  The most direct route to the Nantahala River’s source passed through Track Rock Gap, where the famous petroglyphs are located. On the way back from the excursion, the whim suddenly hit me of taking another look at the petroglyphs. Even though I now lived only about five minutes from the petroglyphs, I had not seen them in about five years.  The petroglyphs had deteriorated further in those five years.  There was not much to look at.

Funky Egg Hatchery

Funky Egg Hatchery

In pantomime language that only a trainer of herd dogs would understand, my canine companions told me that they were thirsty and also wanted to relieve themselves.  I noticed what appeared to be a ravine across the road from the U.S. Forest Service parking lot at Track Rock Gap. In the Georgia Mountains, ravines almost always mean a spring or brook is nearby.

We had to walk about a 100 yards southward to reach a power line right of way, which could give access to Track Rock Gap Branch. A “branch” is a “brook” in the Southern English dialect. Within the mowed grass of the right of way, I immediately noticed the footprint of a long fieldstone wall.  All that was left was its foundation. Apparently the Blue Ridge Electric Membership Cooperative had removed the upper levels of the wall, when clearing the right of way.  The rock work was very old.  Closer to the ravine was the footprint of a shorter wall.  The area around Track Rock Gap Branch had been altered at some time in the past.  It appeared to have been dammed long ago.  Also, the sides of the presumed retention pond had been straightened.  Immediately beyond the stream, I found some extremely old fieldstone retaining walls.  They were curved and formed terraces on the slope… What have I found I asked myself? Come take a look and read about the Trail to Yupaha.

The Trail to Yupaha – Table of Contents