6/10 Rockingham to Hanging Rock with a little Pisgah in between
We woke up in Rockingham, NC after a night in a lame motel. It wasn't run down or anything, just kinda lame... The wi-fi didn't work well and the promised continental breakfast was very meager. I did have the chance to go into town to find a laundromat, so with clean clothes we set off to find Hanging Rock State Park near Mt. Airy, NC. Highway 220 was mostly hemmed in by trees with little showing through so we took a couple of detours to see what was over the dense hedgerows. The rural scenery opened away from the highway and the picture above gives a good idea of what we saw repeated in endless variation. One exit from 220 pointed the way to Pisgah covered bridge... no indication of how far or what was really there just, "Pisgah that-a-way." We had to follow that one.
Ultimately it wasn't that many miles off the highway but after lots of twists in the road and three turns following tiny brown "Pisgah" signs we started to wonder if we were being fooled. Then the last sign pointed down a short gravel drive to what turned out to be a small picnic area and hiking trail along a creek, AND the promised bridge. It's just off the road and a modern bridge takes the road over the creek so Pisgah is strictly for foot traffic these days.
In addition a small sign pointed out that the bridge is far from old. What was left of the old one (even that was not original, being wood it had been rebuilt many times) had been washed away in a flood in 2003. This replica was only six years old. Alas, many visiting artists had thought it incomplete without their personal touch and the inside of the bridge was littered with the most heartfelt personal messages.
It's a nice place for a picnic and that's just what we did. The small park is some distance from the highway and a long way from the nearest town, but we had quite a bit of company while we ate lunch, and the visitors were surprisingly diverse. Some came to walk the path or have lunch and throw rocks in the creek but most just gawked at the bridge, took a picture and moved on. Hmm, I guess the small highway sign and odd name was irresistible.
It was a welcome break from the highway and I'm glad we made the detour even if the bridge is not quite a relic. Our drive continued north to Hanging Rock State Park, but that's for another post. For anyone who may wish to find Pisgah, below are some directions. Look close for the little brown signs.
From the 220 (also labeled interstate 73 and 74) south of Asheboro, NC
Turn West at Burney Rd, drive 5 mi
Turn left at Pisgah Covered Bridge Rd
take 1st right to stay on Pisgah Covered Bridge Rd, the gravel drive to the park will be on the left after about 1.5 miles.