Sunday, November 4, 2012
Pilot/Wine Loop Trail - Big South Fork
Pilot / Wines Loop 8.2 miles
Pilot / Wines Loop 5
Dome Rockhouse 1.2 miles
Pilot / Wines Loop 1.6
Bronco Overlook trail 1.8 miles
Total Miles: 17.8
Lora and I headed out for an overnight hike. We went to the Big South Fork area and hiked the Pilot Wine loop plus a little extra.
We started out at the Station Camp East trailhead and hiked counterclockwise. We passed a quite a few horse riders out this time. The last time that I hiked this trail with Troy, we missed Pilot Rock. I was determined not to miss it this time. Once again as we hiked through the rock wall section when the trail turned steeply downhill off to the right, I pulled out the trail description. There is no trail to Pilot rock. There may have been at one time, so Lora and I headed straight out the ridge and BANG, there it is. You cannot see it from the trail, but a few yards in and there is a huge rock sitting on top of the ridge. I was excited to find it this time!
After Pilot rock we headed down to Grassy branch where we followed the horse trail off down stream to find a place to camp. If you stay to the right and go upstream on Williams branch there is a place in the woods that makes a good campsite. We did some exploring in the area after we set up camp and collected firewood. We heard a couple of owls that night.
The next morning we got up and started the steep climb out of the river gorge. The leaves that were still hanging on were green or red making a pretty picture. There were so many leaves on the trail that we didn't hear much wildlife let alone our conversation with each other. When we came to the second connection with the Big Island Loop we meet some horse riders that were trying to figure out what to see today. We told them about stuff in the area and they too took the trail to the Dome Rockhouse.
The Dome Rockhouse is like a large room in a cave with a large opening. It is really cool with the rock being different colors in the dome part. After that we hiked back to the Pilot Wine Loop trail and made it back to the parking lot.
We dropped the packs and hiked the Bronco Overlook (Station Camp East Overlook) trail. This is an easy walking trail through the woods to a good overlook of the Big South Fork Gorge.