Jumping Off Rock Trailhead, Uwharrie National Forest Ophir, NC

I returned to the Uwharrie next on a Friday. I started at the Jumping Off Rock Trailhead and headed south to Dark Mountain. After a walk of a little over a mile I met up with Budget who has been hiking the Uwharrie for a while as he trains for the Appalachian Trail. I had briefly met Budget and one of his buddies the during a previous trip over in the Birkhead Wilderness while they were setting up some geocaching for a boy scout troop.

Jumping Off Rock Trailhead
Jumping Off Rock Trailhead

  I asked Budget if he would mind if I hiked with him for a while. We headed back over Dark Mountain and through the Jumping Off Rock Trailhead heading north. Here Budget told me, were the good scenic views and the most rugged part of the Uwharrie Trail.

        We were hiking to King Mountain which at 1020 feet is the high point of the Uwharrie Trail. Shortly we approached and crossed a good-sized stream known as Poison Fork. Here near Poison Fork lies the body of 10-year-old Diane Woodell. A short side trail will take you to the grave. At one time the local settlers were to build a church on the site and Diane was the first to be interred in what was to become the church community’s cemetery. But interest in the church waned and no others were ever buried here.

         We stopped for a while and had some lunch on Little Long Mountain. This mountain, if situated in the Blue Ridge, would be known as a bald. Here one finds the only overnight shelter on the Uwharrie National Trail, a three-sided cabin of ample size that has been built by a Boy Scout Troop out of Greensboro North Carolina called the Eagle Nest. Prominent on the mountain are the huge exposed quartz boulders mined years ago. 

Poison Fork
Quartz Mine atop Little Long Mountain
The Uwharries from Little Long Mountain

We descended Little Long Mountain to the Joe Moffitt trailhead.

          Joe Moffitt is a legend among Uwharrie hikers. The local scoutmaster and outdoorsman spent his life trekking the Uwharrie and he lead his Boy Scout Troop to lay out the original trail through the area. Joe and his troop built many of the campsites along the trail. Considered the founder of the trail a memorial has been erected to him and the trailhead linking the newest four miles of the trail to the rest is named in his honor. Just past the Joe Moffitt Memorial we started our ascent of King Mountain. It is about 1.1 miles from this trailhead to the summit. At the summit, I told Budget it was time for me to turn back as I still had a two- hour drive home once I got back to the Jumping Off Rock Parking Lot. We bid farewell and parted ways for this day. Budget was going to complete the last mile or so before he turned back.

Joe Moffitt Trailhead

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