Hiking > NFL
I woke up and the day was so gorgeous I couldn’t even stand the thought of being cooped up in the apartment. I loaded up the pack and walked 2 miles to pick up the car so I could drive it to one of my favorite day hiking areas, the Shining Rock Wilderness of Pisgah Natl Forest. I am really lucky to have such a beautiful and easily accessible network of trails so close to home… I couldn’t stand the idea of bein at home gettin my couch potato on watching football haha
Side-note: Those new trekking poles are such a great add to the gear list. My knee felt/feels great even after 6 miles and 2 summits!
haha, these are great! ~CFS
Get Outside Campaign Pt 8…
Another fantastic Buds vs Wild weekend. A return visit to the Linville Gorge for me, with the intent of an over-nighter away from our ladies with one of my best buds from Ohio and to melt some out of town face with the Gorge’s beautiful eastern rim along the Mountains to Sea trail.
The hike up to Table Rock had David and I pretty smoked, but as we got to the foot of the summit approach were treated with our first shot of the gorge below, we got a second wind and made quick work of the 1000’ summit.
Pressing on and leaving the girls to return on their own to the trailhead, David and I strolled through a multitude of bright pink and white Mt Laurel blooms along the trail rimming the Chimney section of the hike. This 2 mile strip of giant craggs jutting up and out into large spires is very popular with local climbers and really neat to hike through. The terrain was a far departure form the flat to slightly hilly land of north eastern Ohio that David was used to, so it was a treat for him to have a more challenging and exciting hike with scrambles etc.
We were soon upon the small trail that lofted us up about 30’ to a small cave where we were to camp. This rock overhang was about 25-30 feet wide and about 12-14 feet high and a perfect spot to frame in the gorge. As the weather moved in while we were camping, we stayed totally dry and warm and a gentle cross breeze kept the smoke out of our faces haha :D It couldn’t have been a better scenario.
It’s always such a pleasurable experience to share the amazing wilderness to those who’d otherwise never get to. This 8th installment of the Get Outside Campaign went off without a hitch and the much needed and well deserved rejuvenation that nature provided to David and I left us both eager for the next trip out into her warm embrace.
Get Outside Campaign Pt 7…
I was grateful to have another opportunity to share the amazing outdoor experience with buds from back home. In the 7th installment of the Get Outside Campain, I set out again with my bud Brad and additionally, the hiking/camping first timer, “B”.
We set off from Carvers Gap on the AT and continued up and over the 3 Southern Balds: Round Bald, Jane Bald, and Grassy Ridge down through Yellow Mt Gap back up to Little Hump Mt. The weather was a liiiittle chilly on the balds with high gusting winds making it twice as cold as it read on the weather forecast, but with the proper layering we still felt good as we set off.
The high altitude air was a bit harsh on B, but he dug deep and carried on like a champ. The descent from Grassy Ridge to the Yellow Mt Gap was quicker going than I remembered but as we finished lunch at the bottom and set off for the toughest leg of the hike, a steep ascent up nearly 1000’ in less than 1.7 miles, the trail started taking it’s toll. We were happy to have that section behind us as we got to Yellow Mt and the grassy balds revealed some of the best panoramics of Tn and NC. The winds were even stronger as we made our way to camp, and we set in with the priorities of work, collecting as much wood as we possibly could to maintain a fire in the high winds. Giving the honor of getting a fire going to B, he did not disappoint and we were toasty with our high mt happy hour under way shortly after :) As the sun went down, the clouds parted revealing some of the best star-scape any of us had seen before.
In the morning, we’d shivered ourselves awake haha, exiting the tent to even colder and stronger winds, we decided to break camp and have breakfast out of the wind 4 miles up trail to the Stan Murray Shelter. With numb fingers and toes we set off back down to the gap and out with a quick water recharge in the Gap and on up to the shelter. Once there, we met a thru-hiker named “Cheez-it” from Louisiana who was pretty cool. I shared my canister fuel with him, insisting on the fact that he conserve his and pawned off a few food items to help him out. He’d never even hiked before!?! But after graduating from college he felt like the AT would provide him ample time to decide the next big span of his life… which it surely would :)
We wrapped up breakfast and to my surprise and delight, it rejuvenated us enough all enough to dominate the last few miles of the hike an hour ahead of projected time which was a great feat. I was super proud of my buds.
In conclusion, Buds vs Wild was a huge success. I got to enjoy some long awaited fellowship with my buds, in some of the most beautiful surrounds of the area I’ve come to love, and love to share, adding to yet another successful chapter to the Get Outside Campain.
It was such a beautiful day and I wasn’t even about to be stuck inside workin like a sucker!?! It’d been almost a year since we’d first hiked through this section of the AT from Brown Gap through Max Patch and it was just as awesome as I remembered! Although, then, it was early summer and the hills were covered in wildflowers and admittedly much more pretty, but the view was still fantastic!
I woke up, and the sun was shining…
The Blue Ridge Parkway is a hiker’s delight in and around the Asheville area. However, certain times of the year it closes for reasons outside of a hike’s delight haha. As it were, though, it’s been opened up again through one of my very favorite sections, the Shining Rock Wilderness…
When I awoke this morning and saw the sun peak through broken clouds I weighed my options: Work (sternly shaking head NO) or go soak in the sun whilst on the trail in the woods (enthusiastic nod.). I hadn’t known the parkway was open to said section of awesome, expansive wilderness trails except that I happen to I over hear some people just outside of my open apartment window mention to someone else nearby ”we’re going hiking in the Graveyard Fields blah blah blah” and so I jumped up faster than a volunteer fireman and was packed and out the door in minutes! Knowing of it’s inconvenient closures though, I thought, at the very least, I would drive to where the Parkway’s been closed and decide my course of action accordingly… I was delighted to find it OPEN and about to receive some dayhiking by the likes of myself :)
NOTE: I am REALLY impressed with the pictures my phone takes!?!
Get Outside Campaign Pt 6…
It began Thursday with a text message from Steph:
S: “i need a hike reaaaaall bad.”
T: “MEEEEEEEE TOOOOOO.”
S: “maybe saturday??”
T: “SURE! weather’s not lookin too good at the moment, but imma keep the faith :)”
S: “well rain, sleet, snow. we got the gear for it :) so bring it!”
T: “I fucking love you.”
SO, it’d been quite a long work week for us and some of the best sunny weather we’ve gotten lately so today was the day we got to squash the throes of hiking want with a day trip to the MST and the Shining Rock Wilderness, one of our favorite hikes.
We arrived at the trailhead just in time for the last of the few wispy clouds to pass as the very last of the beautiful bright sun’s obstructions and spent the day ascending ever so gradually to one of our favorite outlooks on Chestnut bald. From here we had a bite to eat and after a gorgeous, sunny afternoon, our souls have been replenished if only momentarily ;) and that, for at least myself, is what getting outside is all about!
S A T-U-R D-A-Y HIKE.
It was just a Saturday and after our first decent snowfall of the winter, I decided I wanted to go walkin in it! Heading out to the Shining Rock Wilderness, I had to pick up a side trail to connect to the MST since in cold/snowy weather the Blue Ridge Parkway is closed off in many spots (usually to the cooler places to go hiking!) But the hike in was beautiful as the sun dropped into the West and I didn’t mind the short hardball trek into the woods… I had intentions of revisiting a really awesome outlook I’d seen in the fall, but as I ascended up Devil’s Courthouse at 5720’, the air temperature dropped from a manageable 35° to 8° with what I estimated to easily be 10mph+ wind gusts, pulling off my glove to snap these few pictures from the top was enough to make my fingers go completely numb! I had to stop several times do jumping jacks or big arm circles to get the blood moving!
I had a blast.
Get Outside Campaign Pt 5…
Sharing the pleasurable outdoor experience nature can treat us to, is an action I take upon myself as often as schedules allow. In this, the 5th installment of the Get Outside Campain, I set out again with my bud Brad from back home into Panthertown Valley, NC. This area was one new to me but was recommended very highly due to it’s marvelous valley, spectacular views, ease of walking and high access to water from which we had planned on fishing. An ideal place to take a best friend on a “Buds trip”!
We hit the trail early Wednesday morning and it would seem we had the entire valley to ourselves! Just a few yards from the car we were already off into the thick cover of the trees and winding through the towering, shear, granite rock faces of Big Green Mt and Goldspring Ridge on the Great Wall Trail. not two hours of hiking we were met with a few waterfalls, daunting mountains and thick Fir and pine tree groves. It was in one of these groves where we decided to make camp. It was a lovely spot in the previously mapped/designated area of the valley only previously seen from a less than spot–on topo map and Google Earth but was in great proximity to water, and a decent shot of Big and Little Green Mtns. We quickly set about the priorities of work and Brad got a fire going the Bear Grylls method in one strike! Weather started moving inupon us and before we knew it we were getting poured on. NOT how we’d planned the night to go, but, nature’s not concerned with Buds weekends and the best course of action is to adapt accordingly… Slapping on our rain shells, I soon realized mine had all but lost it’s DWR. The water rolled straight of the back, hood and shoulders of Brad’s precip jacket and mine just looked like a splotchy blue soaked newspaper haha. Acting with haste, we constructed a modest hootch to cover the fire and then, enough to cover ourselves! It was a small victory, but it worked like a champ! We and our fire stayed dry and Brad and I hunkered in for the rest of the night, sipping on a nightcap huddled in our rain cover :P
We awoke the next morning elated to find clear blue skies and at only 9 o’clock, already 45° temps (and rising). After a quick breakfast and cup of coffee, we set out to make the most of our full day in the woods. We had intended on fishing in the many creeks and streams in the area, however, to our chagrin, the optimal trout conditions were less than adequate. We instead took off to hike up to the high ground to take advantage of the clear day at times stalking a pheasant or two with no success haha. We WERE successful, however, with getting some amazing views of the valley. A quick ascent to Salt Rock provided an awesome view of the North/Northeastern section we’d hiked in from. From here we noticed a bluff to the Northwest that looked large and promised a decent lunch accommodation so we set out for it… While I myself am no stranger to steep pitches of summit hikes, Brad was nearly bested by the trudge up from 4000ft to 4500ft. But, he dug deep and we summited to one of the prettiest, expansive, bright and sunny valley views. It was clear how this valley is considered the “Yosemite of the East”. We strung the hammock, cracked open some suds and enjoyed our lunch break on top of that beautiful lookout. Witnessing that view and the surrounding area we commiserated the rainy night prior and decided we’d like to spend the night with the valley to our feet. Brad, somewhat apprehensive about humpin back up that 700’ ascent (total from camp) with a full pack of gear, was in agreement that taking he shorter, more B lined Carlton’s Way trail that switch-backed nearly directly to our camp was the better route and within 30mins of returning to camp, we were packed up and back on our way to the top!
That evening could not have been any better. Up there on that beautiful summit with that valley below us we sipped our whiskey by a hot fire and watched the sun slowly fall behind the ridgeline and the stars show up to join a 3/4 moon. We reflected on our rainy night, and as much fun as building a hootch was, THIS, was the cherry on top of a Buds vs Wild trip…
In the morning, we met the sun in the very best way. Peering out over Ravenrock and Panthertail Mtns, we stirred from our bags and enjoyed a cup of joe before the quick hike back to the car. The walk back was full of high fives for a killer trip and appreciation for the area we’d just explored. Agreed it was a “definite return visit” for Brad as well as myself.
Another successful Get Outside Campaign and another “happy customer”. Score one for nature and another for Buds vs Wild! :)
Buds vs. Wild
The time has finally come. My bud Brad is southbound to NC to participate in the next chapter of my Get Outside Campaign. A 3 day camping and fishing trip in Panthertown Valley. I’m so stoked, I just p’d a little…
Get Outside Campaign Pt 4…
Over the passed holiday weekend, I was blessed with two great hikes in as many days. So I was very excited to hear that two ladies, of which I was yet acquainted, the sister of my brother’s girlfriend and her bud where swinging through Asheville on a road trip. I am always excited at the possibility of sharing the wonderful outdoors this area of North Carolina to those who’ve not yet had the fantastic experience. I was even more excited to hear that they were no schleps when it came to the outdoors and being awesome! Kristin had previously section hiked on the Northern New England AT so it was decided that we would venture out to Roan Mountain, TN and show them the Southern Mountain section of the AT. This portion of the trail has yet to be surpassed as the best hike we’ve been on in this area…
It was a beautiful drive up, the rainy overcast weather looked like it was going to break up and grant us a clear day. However, as we ascended to the trailhead it became evident that for this hike, the weather gods would have other ideas… We yo-yo’d our way across the 3 balds to Grassy Ridge. 5 miles of 30°, high winds and snowfall. I must say, though, that what this hike lacked in the ever exspansive views Steph and I’d see in late September, it certainly made up for in beautiful winter landscapes. If this is a foreshadowing of what Brad and I are going to experince on our February camping trip than I am even more stoked! I was equally impressed with the resilience of these birds! Even Steph who’s notoriously cumbersome in the cold :P They hard charged every step and it was evident that they were having as much fun as I was :) Thus, in my Get Outside Campains, THAT is what it is all about! Sharing the beauty of the outdoors and having a great time while we do it!
Get Outside Campaign Pt 3.0…
Cabin fever was 3 stages ago… I’m terminal at this point haha. This side job and my big kid gig have just robbed me of free time to chase the sweet taste of the outdoors. So, it was a great relief to find out my buddy Brad will be coming down in February for a winter camping and fishing trip! I have never been cold weather camping and I am new to fishing while I’m at it, but I am very excited to experience winter in such a great way, as well, share the experience with a great bud and one who would otherwise not get an opportunity to enjoy such a marvelous spectacle as a 2 nighter of a Blue Ridge Mountain winter!
The pictures attached are the routes I’ve plotted out for our 3 days in the wonderful Panthertown Valley of North Carolina. Hailed “the Yosimite of the East" with it’s massive sheer granite cliffs, teaming trout streams, loads of waterfalls and pristine views. I was extremely eager to get to planning both a rewarding trip for a visiting hiker/camper, but also a location where we can exercise some of the finer skills and sport of an outdoorsmen.
So, until February rolls around, I will gladly exchange the angst of a disobliging workload for the anticipation of one hell of a great trip.