Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2014 - 16

H Little Sluice/Cedar Creek Loop
Text and photos by Leonard Adkins

The Hike

THIS 13-MILE, TWO-STATE CIRCUIT OFFERS GREAT VISTAS, SOME STEEP
CLIMBS AND NICE CAMPSITES FOR A WEEKEND OUTING.

The view from White Rock Cliff is well worth the steep climb to it.

HIGH ON A RIDGE along the Virginia/
West Virginia border is a view so
expansive that it's worth every bit of
driving and hiking that it takes to
reach it. I had not encountered anyone
on two previous outings of this circuit
hike (both on good-weather weekends) in the Little Sluice Mountain part
of George Washington National
Forest. So, when Laurie said she
wanted to go for a quiet overnight
outing away from crowds, I immediately suggested the area.
At one time, dirt logging, mining
and carriage roads carried a variety of
vehicles and people up these creek valleys, along ridgelines and over mountain gaps. Those days are gone, but
this hike makes use of some of those
roads, many now little more than footpaths, to explore environs that are
miles away from paved roads. In addition to the seclusion, highlights
include possible abundant wildlife, a
16 | BlueRidgeCountry.com

strong-flowing high-elevation spring
and the grandstand view. This walk of
nearly 13 miles over moderately-rugged terrain, is best done when the
daylight hours are many, or as a twoday overnighter.
The forest service has created an
official parking area and put a gate
across Forest Service Road (FSR) 88
since the last time I did this hike, the
first of a number of changes we were
to find on the outing. Walking
around the gate and gradually
ascending, I kept looking for what I
had remembered to be the very indistinct Bread Road Trail (named in the
early 1800s when wagons used it to
haul food to charcoal makers cutting
timer and producing fuel for nearby
furnaces), but it never appeared.
Instead, we encountered another
change - a newer and distinct road at
.5 mile into the hike. The old route
had ascended at more than a 30 per-

cent grade in places, so it was nice to
follow this gradually rising road to
arrive on the ridgeline at 1.6 miles,
but I was sorry a bit of local history
had been wiped out.
Swinging around the ridgeline, we
followed the minor ups and downs of
Little Sluice Mountain Trail, a dirt road
open to motor vehicles during hunting
season. The spring at 2.6 miles not
only provided a refreshing drink, but
got me to wondering about history
again. It's the only water source for
miles around, so it had to be important
to the charcoal makers of yesteryear.
Yet, I wandered in the woods quite
extensively and could not find any indications of human activity.
While I was looking for signs of the
past, Laurie repaired the spring by
repositioning the pipe so that water
flowed more freely. This got me thinking about present-day history. Who is
the person who currently watches over
this spring, making sure that there is
always a pipe here? Maybe even more
of a mystery is, who is the person who
created, and carried to this site, the
expertly dugout wooden water trough
that has been here every time I have
come by? My first visit was a couple of
decades ago, so that trough has surely
rotted by now, and, anyway, this one
looks fairly new. I give my thanks to
you, whoever you are.
Our focus on human history
changed to that of natural history
when we found blobs of frogs' eggs in
puddles created by hunters' off-road
vehicles. The mass of jelly-like substances contain thousands of eggs,
looking like small black dots when first
laid. Within a few days, the tadpoles
can be seen wriggling inside their individual pouches. Only a day or two
later, they will work their way out in
search of something to eat. A tiny
upper jaw moves back and forth, while
the lower jaw drops open to scoop in


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Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2014

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2014

Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2014
Table of Contents
Print to Mobile
From the Editor
From the Farm
Festivals & Events
The Hike
Creature Feature
Mountain Report
Country Roads
Potomac Highlands Adventures
Get Up Early! Great Farm Vacations
Saving Mabry Mill
Photo Essay: Mountain Skies
Signature Mountain Dishes
Waterfront Living
Mountain Garden
Cabin in the Woods: Canaan Resort
Guest Column
Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2014 - Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2014
Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2014 - Cover2
Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2014 - Table of Contents
Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2014 - 4
Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2014 - Print to Mobile
Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2014 - From the Editor
Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2014 - 7
Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2014 - From the Farm
Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2014 - 9
Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2014 - Festivals & Events
Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2014 - 11
Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2014 - 12
Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2014 - 13
Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2014 - 14
Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2014 - 15
Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2014 - The Hike
Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2014 - 17
Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2014 - Creature Feature
Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2014 - Mountain Report
Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2014 - Country Roads
Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2014 - 21
Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2014 - 22
Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2014 - 23
Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2014 - Potomac Highlands Adventures
Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2014 - 25
Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2014 - 26
Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2014 - 27
Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2014 - 28
Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2014 - 29
Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2014 - 30
Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2014 - 31
Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2014 - 32
Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2014 - 33
Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2014 - Get Up Early! Great Farm Vacations
Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2014 - 35
Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2014 - 36
Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2014 - 37
Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2014 - Saving Mabry Mill
Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2014 - 39
Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2014 - 40
Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2014 - 41
Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2014 - Photo Essay: Mountain Skies
Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2014 - 43
Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2014 - 44
Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2014 - 45
Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2014 - Signature Mountain Dishes
Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2014 - 47
Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2014 - 48
Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2014 - 49
Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2014 - 50
Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2014 - 51
Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2014 - 52
Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2014 - 53
Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2014 - Waterfront Living
Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2014 - 55
Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2014 - 56
Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2014 - 57
Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2014 - 58
Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2014 - 59
Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2014 - 60
Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2014 - 61
Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2014 - 62
Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2014 - 63
Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2014 - 64
Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2014 - 65
Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2014 - 66
Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2014 - 67
Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2014 - 68
Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2014 - 69
Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2014 - 70
Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2014 - 71
Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2014 - 72
Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2014 - Mountain Garden
Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2014 - 74
Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2014 - 75
Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2014 - 76
Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2014 - 77
Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2014 - Cabin in the Woods: Canaan Resort
Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2014 - 79
Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2014 - 80
Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2014 - 81
Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2014 - Guest Column
Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2014 - Cover3
Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2014 - Cover4
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