Right in the middle of North Carolina, midway between Greensboro and Charlotte, sets the Uwharrie National Forest.
The Uwharrie National Forest was first purchased by the federal government in 1931 during the Great Depression. The land was known as the Uwharrie Reservation.
In 1961, President John F. Kennedy proclaimed these federal lands in Montgomery, Randolph, and Davidson Counties the Uwharrie National Forest. It is one of the most recently formed in the National Forest System.
“The weather forecast all week had varied from a 10-40% chance of rain on Saturday night. Guess what?”
Though small, at only 50,189 acres, the Uwharrie provides a variety of natural resources, including clean rivers and streams, diverse vegetation for scenery, wildlife habitat and wood products. There is also a wide variety of recreational activities, and the Forest is a natural setting for tourism and economic development. Uwharrie is well-known for its active Off Highway Vehicle (OHV) trail system which is open to motorcycles, ATVs and 4x4s.
CORE members try to visit Uwharrie several times per year. We chose the long Veterans’ Day weekend in November to make the trek.
Making the trek this time were CORE members Chad, Keith, Dave D and Bob. Joining us there were John B, Bruce and Janet.
I chose to drive down on Thursday with the Little Guy for some much-needed R&R before the others arrived. Chad showed up Friday during the day driving the Liberty with the TJ in tow. John and the Silverado and Dave in Rubi arrived later in the evening. Bob was visiting relatives in Winston-Salem on Friday and joined us Saturday morning in the lifted Rubi.
After getting the tent pitched and the site basically set, Chad and I decided to make a short run on Friday evening and traveled the Sawmill and portions of Rocky Mountain Loop. It proved to be a nice little ride with very few other people around. The campgrounds were all full for the weekend with the onset of hunting season and we feared big crowds on the trails over the weekend.
You couldn’t have asked for better weather on Saturday. It was sunny and in the 60’s. Although we saw a number of folks, the trails were not crowded and we really didn’t spend much time at all waiting around.
We went up Falls Dam and stopped to play in a puddle or two (see the pictures). Bruce had to come and go through the double parking lot as the ATV couldn’t legally be driven on the forest roads.
Early afternoon we headed back to Arrowhead as Janet had enough for the day and she really needed to keep an eye on the crowded campground. John had felt a bit under the weather and he had remained in the campground that morning but joined Chad for the afternoon ride.
After grabbing lunch, we headed back out. This time, we decided to give Daniel a try. There were a few slick spots on the way to the hill but both the ledge climb and the main hill were dry and all of us managed to get up them unaided (except for the aid of a spotter and some good advice.)
We worked our way around to Rocky Mountain Loop and went up and around the famous picture rocks. Surprisingly, the most difficulty seemed to be had by Chad and was caused by a short (front bumper height) stump that couldn’t be seen from behind the wheel or from his spotter’s vantage point. No damage resulted, just a bit of frustration and delay.
It was getting dark by the time we got back around to the crossroads so we headed back toward camp. We had a hot date scheduled for Zeno’s, too! To those who know Zeno’s, it will come as no surprise that we practiced stuffing ourselves for the upcoming Thanksgiving holiday.
The weather forecast all week had varied from a 10-40% chance of rain on Saturday night. Guess what? The heavens opened up as we returned from dinner. We stood around under the tarp for a while but all turned in fairly soon. Bob, Janet and Bruce had all turned in for the night.
On Sunday morning, Chad and John made plans to leave fairly early. Dave and I decided to spend a little more time on the trails and went out for a quick run. I planned to run the route Chad and I had done on Friday evening. The rain had left the trails a little bit slicker.
As we topped the hill on RML and made the sharp left, the mud allowed Dave to slide just enough to mess up his line across the rocks. We set out to winch him on across but discovered his virgin winch with the wireless remote wouldn’t work! After fiddling with it for a bit, it turns out that the contact for the antenna to plug in had gotten corroded. He eventually got that worked out and some passerby helped to jack him up a bit and we stacked a few rocks to allow him to roll, rather than drag, across.
We went a bit further and made it to Sawmill but the clay was just too slippery and all forward progress eventually stopped. So we called it a day and turned around to head back the way we had come. We made our way to Arrowhead where we aired up, collected our belongings and hit the road for home.
It had been a great weekend. Good friends, good ride and good (for the most part) weather. We’ll be heading back to Uwharrie next year. Hopefully you can join us then.
In the meantime, Happy Trails!
Trail report written by Keith Holman. Pictures courtesy of Keith Holman, Dave Dorrin, and Bob Weaver.