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NC School of Science and Mathematics
2004 Student Intensive
The Search for Fish Dam Road
Notes from the field
Lucie Guo, Student
Wednesday, March 31
Today, we continued our quest of Fish Dam road, and the adventure was no less exciting than that of yesterday. The day started off great when I was informed that a digital camera that drowned yesterday miraculously revived, keeping old footage intact. The bus took us near the house of Mrs. Mozelle Ray, where a beautiful lake caught our eye with thin mist rising just above its surface. Hiking past the corn field, we soon found a remnant roadbed that stretched for just less than a mile before merging into highway 70. Much trash filled the sides of the roadbed, which was evidence since many travelers disposed of personal belongings at roadbeds after they were abandoned. Along the road, we saw many fascinating things, including a tree in the middle of the roadbed whose trunk extended horizontally before curving upward; moss lined the top side of the trunk.
The morning was wrapped in the canopy of the gloomy, gray sky. Nonetheless, the attitude of the team was not affected by the grim weather. We plodded on cheerfully despite the muddy ground and the occasional sprinkles. We walked along the roadbed until many houses could be seen, marking where Fish Dam Road merged into highway 70. We then walked back the way we came and took several group pictures by the lake; the scattered raindrops drizzled into the lake, making ripples upon the surface.
Our next stop was the Occoneechee Golf Course; we walked a section of Fish Dam Road that was the only remnant in the golf course. By then, it was obvious to the group that we were stepping in Fish Dam Road. Mr. Liles told us that you can be certain that you are on the path because, sometimes, you can feel the spirit of the past enveloping the road. The road stretched along columns of trees, and this is the only visible part of the road in the golf course; when it was constructed, much of Fish Dam Road was demolished.
Next, we arrived at the intersection of 70 bypass and 70 business. Venturing into the woods, we had to cross a barbwire fence that proved to be a more difficult task than it looked. Some humorous accidents did occur, but it was said that the fallen leaves and grass on the other side of the fence provided a soft landing for any hiker who lost his (or her, in this case) balance.
It was within the woods that we saw a deep gouge that led into the highway. The sides of the gouge were fairly steep, and the roadbed seemed to have been well-hidden inside the woods. Mr. Liles told us that when he was finding the road, he had stumbled upon this area unintentionally but recognized the roadbed immediately; it was one of the biggest epiphanies of his quest.
Overall, the day was great! :-)