The annual ghost walk and hay ride in Rendezvous Mountain State Educational Forest in Purlear is Oct. 25 and 26, from 6:30 to about 9:30 p.m. both days.
Rendezvous Superintendent Bob Myers of the N.C. Forest Service said about 25 people can be accommodated both nights, with participation based on who calls first to make reservations. There is no charge.
The number to call is 336-667-5072. Callers should leave their names and phone numbers on the answering machine if no staff members are in the office. A Rendezvous representative will call back later to confirm.
Participants will meet at the upper parking lot of Rendezvous near the end of the gravel road up the mountain from Shingle Gap Road in Purlear.
Each night, two groups of about a dozen people each will ride in a hay trailer pulled by a tractor on the mountain. They’ll also sit by a fire and have smores and hot chocolate.
Stories will be told about strange occurrences involving a Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) cabin and a 60-foot-tall N.C. Forest Service fire tower, both built in the 1930s Another story will be told about a young man in the CCC who died after being bitten in the face by a poisonous snake when he knelt down for a drink of water from a spring near the cabin.
Participants will hear about a “bone cave,” named for human bones seen beneath a rock overhang on the mountain for many years. These reportedly were the bones of Union Army deserters who terrorized the countryside in the Civil War era before being brought to vigilante justice.
Another story is about a moonshiner who lived with his family on Rendezvous but fled and supposedly was never heard from again after he shot two revenue officers and killed one when they who came looking for his still in the early 1900s.
Rendezvous Mountain State Educational Forest, often visited by school groups for educational field trips, consists of 3,316 acres owned by the state and managed by the N.C. Forest Service. It has extensive exhibits focused on forestry, wildlife and conservation.
Rendezvous Mountain’s regular seasonal hours for the public are 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesday through Friday and 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. Saturday and Sunday.