Thursday, January 11, 2018

East Jones Creek (Again, Again)

On Christmas morning we were all up early, tearing open presents and experiencing general holiday cheer. Then slightly later in the day the rest of the family was busy experiencing the nap that generally follows. I took the opportunity to do some more exploring of East Jones Creek.

I parked where I usually do, at the foot of the most modern roadbed that leads up along the creek. I say "most modern". It's clearly the most recently build old roadbed, but it's still pretty old, and closed with Kelly Humps. Somehow, this time, I noticed the remains of the old pipe gate, chucked off to the side.

Old FS Gate Post

Ha! I'd parked there twice before though, and somehow managed to miss it.

Last time, I discovered a really old road running along the creek itself, that looked like it teed in from the food plot to the west, so this time I followed 877 through the last campsite, across the paved ford.

Third Ford

The third paved ford on that road, actually.

Upstream, it looked like Trout Unlimited had been there.

East Jones Creek

In the food plot there were shooting clays scattered everywhere. Someone had been up there practicing recently. It took some looking, but I found the old road and followed it to the creek.

There had been a bridge across it at some point. The wooden abutment was still visible on the far side.

Old Bridge Abutment over East Jones Creek

It was substantially colder that day than it had been on previous days. Low 20's. I was wearing fleece and a jacket, so my body was fine, but my feet were going to get wet, and I couldn't remember if I'd ever tried the barefoot shoes when it was that cold.

Whether I had or not, it turned out fine. The water was cold, but the shoes drained well and my feet warmed right back up. This was the case, all day, repeatedly.

Amazing. Another unintuitive characteristic of those shoes.

I checked out various side trails that I hadn't had time for the last time.

I also got a much better photo of the second cascade.

East Jones Creek Falls - Second Cascade

And, I got to climb all over and around it.

It looks like it used to fall over and through these rocks, way, way back, but eventually changed course around them.

East Jones Creek Falls Former Route

I wish I had something for scale. Those rocks are huge.

I also got a close up look at the top of the first cascade.

East Jones Creek Falls - First Cascade Detail

Beneath the first cascade, I found this old board too.

Old Board

With a nail still in it.

Old Board Detail

It was really starting to seem like someone had a farm up there, way back, near where the modern road first crosses the creek. My old maps don't show anything, but I'm really suspicious.

There are lot of flat and level spots above the falls. The network of old roads appears to have been meant to provide access to them. On my first trip, I found what might have been the ruins of a double-chimney. There was that weird piece of wood with all the holes in it, this board with the nail in it, the refrigerator, and those organized rocks last time.

Of course, I could be imagining things. The rocks could be nothing. The roads could be for logging, and the rest could all just be junk that people dumped over the years.

Who knows?

I thoroughly explored the trails that my old map alleged to form a P-shape, near where the road crosses the creek. I can imagine one combination of them that might once have kind-of been P-shaped, but the primary set of old roads formed a very different pattern.

I am suspicious that some rocks I found (the organized rocks in the previous post) were the remains of an old moonshine furnace. They were right along a creek, in a level spot that was difficult to get to, and that would have been obscured during the summer, but with an old, overgrown road cut right to it.

Again though, who knows? The more I learn about what people used to do in the woods, the more I think I recognize stuff. But, I have no good way to verify a lot of it, so there's no telling if I'm right or just seeing things.

It doesn't sound like I did very much, but it was a fairly long day. I'd gotten out there early though, so I'd gotten home early too. Being Christmas, we watched Elf, but somehow Kathryn got the idea to watch The Beastmaster, so we ended up watching that afterwards.

Merry Christmas!

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