Yesterday, seven of the Happy Hugging Hikers group traveled to Brevard, NC to hike the Pink Beds Loop Trail in Pisgah National Forest. Compared to the last three hikes I’ve been on with this group, this was a piece of cake! LOL! Although it is 5 miles long, the Pink Beds Trail is relatively flat, with only about a 300ft change in elevation. According to this website “The Pink Beds Valley was named by settlers who first cleared the area when the abundant blooms of Mountain Laurel and Rhododendron were visible on the surrounding mountainsides. Since this area has been reforested, the name is more historical than descriptive. This forest is one of the first to ever be managed through modern forestry techniques, earning it the nickname “The Cradle of Forestry in America“. This relatively flat, 5 mile loop hike is located in a high mountain valley. Pink Beds is surrounded by the mountains and lush woodlands of Pisgah National Forest. It is home to rare mountain bogs and unique vegetation, this area is ideal for Nature lovers and flora photographers.
We started the hike with cookie to get our sugar up and donned rain ponchos to keep the very light mist at bay. Peaceful. If I had to use just one word to describe the Pink Beds Loop Trail, it would be peaceful. Even today, an overcast day in November and in a light rain, we could see the beauty in the large pines, small meadows and bogs all around us and often remarked how amazing this trail must be in the Spring.
Can’t you just see this forest floor covered in ferns?
The trail was in great condition despite the amount of rain we received this year and was very well marked.
There were few obstacles on the trail besides tree roots but one of our crew had to clear this log for us to pass under, LOL!
The first half of the trail is all open woodland and heavy Mountain Laurel and Rhododendron.
The second half is being remodeled by Beaver.
Beaver have actually flooded out a good portion of the old trail. This past February construction was completed on a new boardwalk that traverses the South Fork of the Mills River. The boardwalk offers nice views of the beaver dam and the wetland flora (in season).
The morning weather forecast called for a 20% chance of rain. Boy did they blow it! It was only misting when we arrived and even debated whether or not to wear the ponchos. So glad we did! The rain steadily increased over the next couple hours although it never got heavy or particularly unpleasant, considering. Well by the time we got back to the trailhead we were ready for a dry place to sit and eat lunch. Fortunately there’s a very nice picnic area here with shelters and benches.
After a 5 mile hike it doesn’t take sitting long to stiffen up. I felt like the Tin Man from Oz creaking across the parking lot to the car, LOL! Despite the rain and the mid-40F temps we enjoyed the beauty of the area and the relatively flat terrain for a change of pace. I’m very much looking forward to doing this hike again in the Spring.