Let’s take a walk and experience some of the pleasures and treasures of Bell County. Go south on 25E out of Pineville through The Narrows for a mile. Take the first right that borders Lake Mistake and the last three holes of Wasioto Winds golf course. Park at the fork in the road. If you want to walk the mile up to The Cove take the right road. Up there in the quiet shade of a summer afternoon, the calm waters of the reflecting pool ease all our worldly cares.
Going on the left fork takes you along the golf course fence for three fourths of a mile to the scenic red/blue barn on the left and the old TJ Asher place on the right. For entertainment on this part of the walk you will hear shouts of joy or curses of dismay from the golfers.
The road narrows, cross a bubbling brook, and if you don’t want to walk on the blacktop along the golf course, then park in the field on your left. If you have been walking and track your distances, then you have come your first mile.
From the field, continue up a short distance to the almost hidden trail entrance on your right. It goes up to the wide, hard-packed gravel old rail bed that is the trail itself. The rail line, built by TJ Asher, went 13 miles up along Clear Creek to the mines at Davisburg. The fire breathing engines are long gone now. The trail, sometimes called “The Fat Track” for reasons I know not of, has room for 3-4 people to walk side by side. It is kept clean of all leaves and debris.
So we start. Within five minutes, the rusting steel cables of an old swinging bridge still cross the creek. When the creek had high water and the ford flooded, the swinging bridge provided the only good crossing. People often rode the coal train to town and back and the bridge was a stop.
At this time of year, the lush flowers of the Rhododendron smile for us. In May, the glorious Mountain Laurel had its turn. A little ways up from the bridge, a big, big, glaciated boulder holds court. I often wonder what stories it could tell of the Ice Age and Daniel Boone. Another five minutes and the happy sound of water tumbling over rocks makes us smile. I have drunk from that branch many times. Another five minutes and we meet a gentle waterfall. A small rock wall around its base has created a cool wading pool. Get your cameras out!
I have been running and walking this trail for the past 35 years and there is always something new and interesting. Up on your left from the waterfall, a giant water wheel lies rusting in the mud. That sawmill cut all the timber years ago. As I walk past the new growth, I imagine that I am older than most of the trees around me.
Follow the rusting sluiceway up to the old dam and enter the tunnel. Come out 200 feet later and cross a narrow foot bridge.
Soon you come to yellow bars across the trail. Go through. It’s a public trail. Continue to a longer foot bridge and to the parking lot at Clear Creek School. You have walked a mile and a half of history and beauty. It’s downhill all the way back.