In celebration of the completion of a new bridge and trail section along the Elkin to Stone Mountain hike, the Elkin Valley Trails Association and Grassy Creek Vineyard, along with Byrd’s Branch Campground, are throwing a free gala for the community.
The Grassy Creek Gala is set to take place on Sept. 12 with a free concert featuring Time Sawyer and Annabelle’s Curse. Both bands, which feature music with a blend of folk and bluegrass, are local favorites and supporters of the Elkin Valley Trails Association.
“We are expecting a crowd,” said Sarah Byrd, co-owner of Byrd’s Branch Campground. Byrd, along with her husband, are eager to celebrate the opening of their campground which began accepting guests in early August. “We’ve had a lot of inquiries about the trail, even seen several people walking it. Most people ask ‘when will it open?’ or ‘when will it open all the way to Stone Mountain?’”
From Elkin, Byrd’s Branch Campground is located a quarter of the way to Stone Mountain, or roughly five miles from downtown. From the campground, guests can go for a hike lasting about an hour and half, over the newly constructed bridge, and on to Grassy Creek Vineyard and Winery. “It gives people something to do, they can go for hike, get a glass of wine, and hike back,” said Byrd.
The Sept. 12 event will begin at 1:30 p.m. with a walk-through led by EVTA members. According to the press release, participants in the hike will have the option to start at the winery, take a hike to Byrd’s Branch Campground complete with optional ice cream cone, and walk back to Grassy Creek Winery or shuttle service is available both ways. The hike should take about 45 minutes one way with plenty of time to be back at Grassy Creek Winery when the music starts at 3 p.m.
For those who choose to hike the trail, EVTA spokesman Bob Hillyer advises that it is a rustic trail and encourages the use of appropriate footwear, either boots or heavy shoes. “It’s a work in progress,” stated Hillyer. The trail will take hikers over the Eagle Scout bridge project of Harrison Hall and new paths cut by EVTA volunteers. According to Hillyer, other paths are available from the trail leading to another trail that takes hikers down to a waterfall.
The music event is free with catering and drinks available for purchase by 13 Bones, Grassy Creek and others. Concert attendees are encouraged to bring their own chairs and blankets for seating.
According to Byrd, the campground will donate a portion of sales to the EVTA. Other donations are welcome and will directly contribute to future trail work.
The EVTA, Grassy Creek Winery and Byrd’s Branch Campground are anticipating the completion of the 24-mile trail leading from Elkin to Stone Mountain. The project, which has been underway for several months, will continue with building for the remaining part of 2015 with an anticipated opening in 2016.
Karen Holbrook may be reached at 336-258-4059 or on Twitter @KarenHolbrook00.