Hike Schedule 2017 Format

Sunday No. A1903-644      Jul 07, 2019
Mingus Mill semi-circular 8:00 AM
Hike 10.5, Drive 110, 2800 ft. ascent, Rated A-AA,
Danny Bernstein, 828-450-0747, danny@hikertohiker.com
First Meeting Place: Home Depot off Exit 44 of I-40.
Second Meeting Place: Maggie Valley Post Office at 8:30 AM - but contact leader first.
900M We’ll hike up Newton Bald to a former bald with good views from the ridge top. We will then descend on the Mingus Creek Trail, on the MST. We'll visit a slave cemetery at the end. Short car shuttle.
Topo(s): Smokemont

hike report: Six hikers went up Newton Bald Trail in the Smokies and down Mingus Creek Trail. Lots of rhododendrons, two cemeteries. Read the whole story about the Enloe Slave cemetery on my blog: https://www.hikertohiker.net/2019/07/08/up-newton-bald-down-mingus-creek/

scout report: Diane J. and Sallye S. helped me scout this wonderful Smokies hike. We climbed up (and up) Newton Bald Trail but we all agreed that the climb was much **easier** than a 3,000-ft climb would be; the quality of the trail is everything. Rosebay Rhodies were everywhere and hopefully will be still amazing on Sunday. On the way down Mingus Creek Trail, an adult bear waited for us on the trail. We shouted that it was our trail and it scampered down the side of the mountain. I can't promise we'll see a bear. Once we got down to Mingus Creek parking lot, we took a short trail to the African-America cemetery. I'm trying to find out why there are now coins on the stones - a new addition.

Saturday No. A1903-314      Jul 13, 2019
Grassy Ridge Mine Overlook to (almost) Balsam Gap 10:00 AM
Hike 7.0, Drive 90, 200 ft. ascent, Rated B-C, at-mst
Marcia Bromberg, 828-505-0471, cell 860-798-9905, mwbromberg@yahoo.com
Only Meeting Place: Home Depot off Exit 44 of I-40. Have you ever wanted to hike that long MST ridge down to Balsam Gap? Here is your chance in the downhill direction, enjoying the views and summer wildflowers along the way. We'll stop about a mile short of Balsam Gap, walking out on an old road that crosses the MST. NOTE: 1800' descent along good trail. Car shuttle.
Topo(s): Hazelwood

scout report: This hike is on a rarely used section of the MST--too bad because it's really beautiful! We start way up high with great views from the overlook, walk for a couple of miles along a ridge line and then go down, down, down. This time of year there should be plenty of later summer wildflowers. When I scouted I saw the end of the flame azalea and the beginning of the turks cap lilies. However, weather may be an issue. The latest forecast shows 80% chance of rain in Waynesville (the closest town) and it's much more likely to rain higher up. Given the exposed nature of the ridge and the many mossy rocks that comprise the trail it would not be a good idea to do this hike in the rain. So check Breaking News Friday evening and Saturday morning to see if the hike has been cancelled.

hike report: Under a threat of rain we shortened this hike to a 5 mile in and out mostly along the ridge line. There were 8 of us enjoying the cool lush forest along this lovely section of the MST. We saw a dozen types of wildflowers and a junco nest with 3 little eggs. This picture was taken at the end of the hike and just minutes before the rain began!

Sunday No. A1903-448      Jul 14, 2019
Ellicott Rock 8:00 AM
Hike 7.5, Drive 150, 1750 ft. ascent, Rated B-A, Wilderness hike, limited to ten hikers, contact leader for reservation.
Norm Sharp, 864-268-9409, cell 864-609-7182, norm.Sharp@att.net
First Meeting Place: Asheville Outlets parking lot behind Waffle House off Exit 33 of I-26.
Second Meeting Place: Pisgah Forest Bi-Lo at 8:30 AM
Form carpools at first meeting place, stop for hikers at second meeting place and meet leader at parking area just south of Whitewater Falls parking area at 9:20 AM. A great time to celebrate an American invention--wilderness. A unique and historic place: three states come together, their junction marked with inscriptions that are 200 years old. There is a refreshing ford of the Chattooga River at the middle of the hike, as well as a great swimming hole there. Dress appropriately and expect to get wet. Hiking poles are recommended for the crossing.
Topo(s): Highlands

scout report: I have decided to do an out and back hike starting from the South Carolina side of Ellicott Rock Wilderness. It will be a slightly shorter distance and about the same elevation. This will leave more time for swimming and/or viewing Ellicott's Rock. It will also avoid an additional 4 miles car shuttle each way. I scouted the hike yesterday starting from the North Carolina side and hiked to the river. While the trail is very passable for a through hike, I don't think it is worth the extra time to do a shuttle. I have attached a picture of the swimming area and the river nearby. Bring your wet crossing items anyway since you will not be able to resist at least a wade. Myself, I'm going "all in".

Sunday No. A1903-343      Jul 21, 2019
Mount Mitchell Loop via Commissary Ridge 8:00 AM
Hike 7.0, Drive 60, 1500 ft. ascent, Rated B-B, sb6k
Carroll Koepplinger, 828-667-0723, cell 828-231-9444, cakoep29@gmail.com
Only Meeting Place: back parking lot of Folk Art Center. We will hike from the Ranger Station to the summit via Old Mitchell Road Trail and return via the Commissary Ridge Trail and Camp Alice Road. We'll enjoy the view from the Mount Mitchell observation platform. Bring rain gear for the usual afternoon shower.
Topo(s): Mt. Mitchell

Saturday No. A1903-193      Jul 27, 2019
Bearpen Gap to NC 215 on the MST 8:30 AM
Hike 9.1, Drive 75, 1900 ft. ascent, Rated A-A, Wilderness hike, limited to ten hikers, contact leader for reservation. p400,sb6k
Barbara Morgan, 828-460-7066, barbc129@gmail.com
First Meeting Place: Asheville Outlets parking lot behind Waffle House off Exit 33 of I-26.
Second Meeting Place: Cold Mountain Overlook at MM 412 of BRP at 9:00 AM
A lovely ramble in the high country. Possible side trip to Mt. Hardy. Car shuttle.
Topo(s): Sam Knob

hike report: Saturday was a great day and a great group for this hike. The group was really nice and included one CMC member for whom it was her first club hike, two trail maintainers whose section was part of the hike, and an amicable group of other hikers. Gotta admit, I think this one is making my “Barbara’s favorite hikes” list due to the beauty and diversity of this section of the MST. The weather was beautiful and not too hot for this time of the year. In the scout report, I’d noted that we’d learned the location of a bees’ nest and we were all prepared after lunch to deal with having to pass where it was right in the trail. But, the bees had all cleared out, likely the work of a raccoon or something. So, much happier, we finished the hike without any unpleasant incident. Special thanks to Brenda and to Bob Levy for helping use their GPS tracks to guide us through the unmarked turns in the Middle Prong Wilderness. Start time about 9:50; finish at 3:45.

scout report: Saturday, July 20, we scouted this great hike. I’d led it before, nine years ago, but I’d forgotten how varied and beautiful it is. The group was perfect - Brenda, Lee, Kay, Henry, Jan & Kevin and dog Sophie (pets are allowed on scouting hikes with leader’s OK), and of course me. This section of the MST goes through a variety of forest types, including my favorite, the Balsams. While the forest blocked most of the long-range views, the twisted trees, mushrooms, and wildflowers were great. Hooray, there was no poison ivy! There are no steep climbs or descents – the trail is mostly gently rolling. Not many people use this trail, so it was very tranquil. We all worked together to sort out the trail from the false leads as it went through the Middle Prong Wilderness, and I really appreciated Brenda and Henry’s expertise with their GPS programs. Brenda will be on the scheduled hike on July 27, so between us, we should have an easier time staying on the trail. Gary Eblen and friends came by while we were having lunch, and thankfully alerted us to a bees’ nest we would encounter as we continued. Thanks to their details, we saw it ahead of time and got past it without incident. Due to the long drive and shuttle, we didn’t start hiking till about 9:50. We got off the trail at 4:00. Being in a wilderness area, the group size is limited to 10. At this writing, 9 are signed up, but I’ll do a “wait list” if more than 10 want to hike.

Sunday No. A1903-883      Jul 28, 2019
Pin Oak Gap - Laurel Gap Shelter 8:30 AM
Hike 8.4, Drive 110, 1500 ft. ascent, Rated B-B,
Henry Kassell, 845-656-5528, hkassell@gmail.com
First Meeting Place: Home Depot off Exit 44 of I-40.
Second Meeting Place: Maggie Valley Post Office at 9:00 AM - but contact leader first.
Enjoy a cool high-altitude hike on the Balsam Mountain Trail to our lunch spot at the Laurel Gap Shelter, and return on the same trail.

scout report: Bruce B. and Carroll K. joined me on this 8.4 mile scout hike on the Balsam Mt Trail. We hiked into the Laurel Gap Shelter at approximately 2 miles , stopping 3 tenths of a mile short of its junction with the Sterling Ridge Trail. A great woodland hike, we noticed along the way, bright green Cone Flowers, large Turks Cap Lilies, Lobilia , and Spiderwort. Also possibly a bear wallow. I'm looking forward to a reprise of this hike on the 20th!

Sunday No. A1903-231      Aug 04, 2019
Cane River Gap to Little Butt 8:30 AM
Hike 7.5, Drive 60, 2800 ft. ascent, Rated B-AA,
Sarah Broughton, 828-564-3662, sarahebroughton@icloud.com
Only Meeting Place: 160 Zillicoa St. (USFS parking lot) off Exit 25 of I-26. After a steep ascent to the ridgeline, we will enjoy one of the best views of the entire Black Mountain range and a hike along a narrow ridgeline trail. We will return via the same route.
Topo(s): Mt. Mitchell

Saturday No. A1903-471      Aug 10, 2019
Bennett Gap to Bridges Camp Gap to Big East 10:00 AM
Hike 7.2, Drive 60, 900 ft. ascent, Rated B-C, Wilderness hike, limited to ten hikers, contact leader for reservation. at-mst, p400
Laura Frisbie, 828-337-5845, laurafrisbie@gmail.com
First Meeting Place: Asheville Outlets parking lot behind Waffle House off Exit 33 of I-26.
Second Meeting Place: Big East Fork small parking area on US 276 at 10:45 AM
This hike is a shorter version of #471. We will follow the MST south from Bennett Gap to Bridges Camp Gap, then hike down to the East Fork of the Pigeon River for lunch. After lunch, the last three miles is a cool, shady hike along the river, with a possible wade or swim. Car shuttle.
Topo(s): Shining Rock

scout report: I scouted this with Bengal and Bailey and my husband shuttled us to the Pisgah Inn for a terrific beer n burger with a view. All Trails app clocked the elevation gain at around 1500' vs the 900' in the description. The trails are in good shape and short pants/sleeves are fine. Some overgrown dog hobble and plenty of rocks in the 3 miles along the river. We barely stopped for breaks and it was almost 5 hours, plus almost an hour each way for travel. Magical Turks Cap and Monarchs!

Sunday No. A1903-473      Aug 11, 2019
Mt. Mitchell, Maple Camp Bald Loop 9:00 AM
Hike 7.5, Drive 70, 1500 ft. ascent, Rated B-B, sb6k
Karen Lachow, 703-395-5879, heyk127@hotmail.com
Only Meeting Place: back parking lot of Folk Art Center. This is a loop following the MST/ Mt. Mitchell and Buncombe Horse Range Trails, to Maple Camp Bald for lunch and great views, where blueberries may be ripe. After lunch, we'll backtrack a short distance and climb steeply on the Big Tom Gap Trail (191A) up to the Crest Trail, then return to Mt. Mitchell parking lot via Big Tom and Mt. Craig.
Topo(s): Mt. Mitchell

scout report: Elaine Tennen helped me scout this hike on Sunday, July 14. Novice hikers should be warned this is not the moderate hike it is rated. This is very technically challenging and difficult going down and up steep, often wet rocky trails. All of the elevation gain is over the last 2 - 2.5 miles. That said, the rewards are plentiful with some fun rock scrambles, lovely wooded trails, scenic views and wildflowers. It was very cool and foggy when we started out around 10:10am (be sure to have layers) so we skipped the top. On the actual hike we will opt to go to the tower if the group wants. To get to the Mt. Mitchell/MST trail (190), you start out going down the Nature Trail. There are no signs indicating this so it took us a bit to locate it. The Mt. Mitchell/MST is a 1.3 mile steep, rocky, rooted and often wet trail through the woods with lots of colorful moss and mushrooms. It is difficult and took about an hour to reach the bottom. Poles are very useful for this section. We shed layers and turned left on the Buncombe Horse Range Trail (191). This is relatively flat and mostly exposed all the way to Maple Camp Bald but was very wet and muddy to navigate. Bushes and grasses were overgrown in many places and often felt like a bushwhack. We saw many blooming wildflowers, bees and butterflies. Raspberry and blueberry bushes are plentiful and hopefully will be ripe. We took in the beautiful views from the Bald, then backtracked to begin the climb up the Big Tom Gap Trail (191A). This section is .4 miles but steep, rocky, eroded and hard to climb. We will take our time here and on the first section of the Black Mtn Crest trail (a.k.a. Deep Gap Trail 179) to the top of Big Tom. All trails were well marked. We continued on to Mt Craig, enjoyed the views and then climbed the steps back to Mt Mitchell arriving at the parking lot at 4:20pm.

Saturday No. A1903-22      Aug 17, 2019
Chestnut Cove Overlook to Ferrin Knob 8:00 AM
Hike 8.0, Drive 15, 1500 ft. ascent, Rated B-B, at-mst, p400
Donna Lanning, 828-684-7083, cell 828-606-7956, dblanning@bellsouth.net
Only Meeting Place: Asheville Outlets parking lot behind Waffle House off Exit 33 of I-26. This is a moderate in-and-out hike on the Mountains-to-Sea Trail from Chestnut Cove to Ferrin Knob and return. We will have a substantial, steady climb in the morning, with lunch at the top of Ferrin Knob, and an easy return in the afternoon.
Topo(s): Dunsmore Mt

hike report: Four of us enjoyed our hike to Ferrin Knob this morning. It started out cool but quickly warmed up especially as we started climbing. The woods were pretty and it was quiet. However, as we were walking along up popped a bear climbing a tree just a few yards from us. It looked at us and went back down the tree, the tree being off the edge of the trail down a steep hill. So, we listened and made noise since we couldn’t see where it had gone for the vegetation. We started to walk slowly and when we spotted her, she had told her two little young ones to come down out of another tree and they ambled on down the hill as we continued walking. Mom was not too concerned, she had just climbed the tree to get a look at us! We started the hike at 8:20 and came out at 12:50. Delightful company and a good workout. Donna

scout report: This hike is all in the woods which is good since it’s been so warm, hopefully there will be a breeze. I scouted recently and was reminded that the top section where the Shut-In Ridge trail runs with the MST is steep! The first 2.7 miles are mostly level but after we cross FS479, it’s a climb of 1.3 miles to the lunch spot after which we will turn around and head back downhill. We will start early and finish in the early afternoon so the pace will be moderate to brisk...well, except for the really steep section :o) There are not many places to sit at the old fire tower site, it’s very overgrown this time of year, the actual trailside will work also. Hope to see you there! Donna

Sunday No. A1903-267      Aug 18, 2019
Horsepasture River 9:00 AM
Hike 4.0, Drive 105, 1000 ft. ascent, Rated C-C, wc100
Paul Benson, 828-273-2098, PDBenson@charter.net
First Meeting Place: Asheville Outlets parking lot behind Waffle House off Exit 33 of I-26.
Second Meeting Place: Pisgah Forest Bi-Lo at 9:30 AM
Swimming hike! Come to see the Gorges State Park area. We will hike upstream alongside the Horsepasture River to see the waterfalls – Rainbow, Turtleback, Drift and Stairway. Several swimming breaks will be taken.
Topo(s): Reid

Saturday No. A1903-239      Aug 24, 2019
Bee Tree Gap to Craven Gap 8:30 AM
Hike 9.7, Drive 30, 1800 ft. ascent, Rated A-A, at-mst
Brenda Worley, 828-684-8656, cell 828-606-7297, bjdworley@gmail.com
Only Meeting Place: back parking lot of Folk Art Center. An MST hike with beautiful mountain views and varied forest terrain. We will hike over Lane Pinnacle, past the Rattlesnake Lodge site and Ox Creek Road to Craven Gap. Car shuttle.
Topo(s): Craggy Pinnacle

scout report: 'Sallye and Susan scouted this beautiful hike with me. We started out from Bee Tree Gap at 9:15 and found the first couple of miles of the MST in great condition. It was obvious it had been recently groomed. As we continued, approximately the next three miles were very overgrown and for this reason, wearing long pants is recommended. We saw a great variety of summer wildflowers. In one area the wildflowers were covered with bumble bees. I was stung three times and the others weren't stung at all. This was my first experience of being stung by a bumble bee and it felt a little like pin pricks and lasted about 5 minutes. I found on google that bumble bees are not aggressive and do not leave the stinger in the skin and so do not die after stinging someone. I could have been stung by the same mean little bee. If you are allergic to bee stings this means you must bring your epipen if you come at all. We passed over the rock outcroppings that usually offer the great views without seeing anything as the day was cloudy and we were rained on the first half of the hike. We were back to our cars at Craven Gap at 3:05. This part of the MST offers wonderful variety, interesting boulders and views. The car shuttle from Craven Gap to Bee Tree Gap is 10 miles. '

Sunday No. A1903-242      Aug 25, 2019
Sam Knob - Devils Courthouse 9:00 AM
Hike 9.0, Drive 75, 1500 ft. ascent, Rated B-B, p400,sb6k
Bruce Bente, 828-692-0116, cell 828-699-6296, bbente@bellsouth.net
First Meeting Place: Asheville Outlets parking lot behind Waffle House off Exit 33 of I-26.
Second Meeting Place: Cold Mountain Overlook at MM 412 of BRP at 9:30 AM
Form carpools and meet leader at second meeting place. This hike in the cool high elevations is perfect for a hot summer day. From FS 816 we will ascend Sam Knob (6040 ft.) with its 360-degree views, then hike through high meadows on the Flat Laurel and Little Sam Trails. We then return via the MST across FS 816 and up to the summit of Black Balsam (6214 ft.), then down to our cars.
Topo(s): Sam Knob

Sunday No. A1903-190      Sep 01, 2019
Mt. Mitchell to Balsam Gap via Blackstock Knob 8:00 AM
Hike 9.5, Drive 70, 1600 ft. ascent, Rated A-A, at-mst, sb6k
Daisy Teng Karasek, 828-505-2036, cell 408-887-3666, daisytk@yahoo.com
Only Meeting Place: back parking lot of Folk Art Center. This is one of the really great sections of the MST and includes two SB6K peaks. The first part of the hike features exceptional views south from the Black Mtns., while the second part showcases the trail-building and rock-work achievements of the CMC. See spectacular scenery from our lunch spot on a rocky outcropping. Car shuttle.
Topo(s): Mt. Mitchell

scout report: Susan H scouted this hike with me on Friday, August 16. We started off from the Mt Mitchell trailhead at 9:15 under sunny skies, a condition I hope will repeat itself on hike day. The MST shared the Old Mt Mitchell Trail partway down the mountain -- a rugged and rocky trail. It was a reprieve when the MST took a right turn to get on the Buncombe Horse Range Trail going towards NC128 -- an easy but long section with blackberries, muddy spots, good shade, and wildflowers. We reached NC128 at about 12:30 and began the rougher and tougher half of the hike. After lunch on the rocks with a great view of the Asheville Watershed area, we climbed on rocky and mossy sections to reach an unnamed summit, then descended to Rainbow Gap, only to have to regain the altitude in what seemed to be a never-ending climb to Blackstock Knob that stands at over 6300 feet. Next, nice walk on a narrow spine with views through trees and a steep set of switchbacks down to the parkway. We got there at 4:30. Note: Lots of butterflies and BEES at work on wood asters, Joe-Pye-weed and goldenrods. Prepare for bee stings. Definitely bring hiking poles to provide extra support for navigating over rocks and wet spots. This is a strenuous hike, not recommended for beginning hikers. Car shuttle required. It will be a long day. Dinner afterwards in the park restaurant an option.

Sunday No. A1903-914      Sep 08, 2019
Assault on Black Rock and the Pinnacle 8:00 AM
Hike 11.4, Drive 105, 3450 ft. ascent, Rated A-AA+,
Les Love, 828-658-1489, cell 828-230-1861, lesrlove55@gmail.com and Catherine Love, 828-658-1489, catmlove2@gmail.com
First Meeting Place: Home Depot off Exit 44 of I-40.
Second Meeting Place: Haywood County Rest Area 19500 Great Smoky Mtn Expy (US 23/74) Waynesville NC at 8:30 AM - but contact leader first.
We'll summit both of these spectacular peaks in Sylva's Pinnacle Park, starting at the main parking lot and taking the West Fork Trail to the Pinnacle, then cutting across to Black Rock, hiking on the new trail constructed this summer that eliminates the grueling final half mile to the top. Then we'll return on the East Fork Trail to the cars.

Saturday No. A1903-375      Sep 14, 2019
Sams Gap to Rice Gap 10:00 AM
Hike 7.5, Drive 50, 1800 ft. ascent, Rated B-A, at-mst
Donna Lanning, 828-684-7083, cell 828-606-7956, dblanning@bellsouth.net
Only Meeting Place: 160 Zillicoa St. (USFS parking lot) off Exit 25 of I-26. An in-and-out hike on the A.T. in the beautiful open forest from Sams Gap to Rice Gap, with a visit to Hogback Ridge shelter, built by CMC members.
Topo(s): Sams Gap

Sunday No. A1903-74      Sep 15, 2019
Tanawha Trail 8:00 AM
Hike 13.2, Drive 150, 2600 ft. ascent, Rated AA-AA,
Michael Cornn, 828-458-1281, mcornn@aol.com and Kathy Cornn/Kyle, 828-458-1281, katherinenkyle@gmail.com
First Meeting Place: River Ridge Market Place behind CVS off Exit 53B of I-40.
Second Meeting Place: Ingles off Exit 64 of I-40 (Black Mountain) at 8:15 AM
One of our best hikes when the weather cooperates. A fragile and ancient ecosystem, rhododendron and laurel tunnels, hardwood coves, boulder fields and great views make this a special hike. Car shuttle.
Topo(s): Grandfather Mtn

Sunday No. A1903-600      Sep 22, 2019
Pink Beds -Buckhorn Gap - South Mills River Loop 8:00 AM
Hike 13.1, Drive 75, 1000 ft. ascent, Rated AA-C, p400
Judy Magura, 828-606-1490, quilter290@gmail.com and Jim Magura, 828-606-3989, jqs290@gmail.com
First Meeting Place: Asheville Outlets parking lot behind Waffle House off Exit 33 of I-26.
Second Meeting Place: Pisgah Forest Bi-Lo at 8:30 AM
We’ll start on the Pink Beds Loop to Barnett Branch, up to Buckhorn Gap, and then down to the S. Mills River. Hike to gauging station and return to cars on Pink Beds Loop. Lots of variety and a moderate pace.
Topo(s): Shining Rock

Saturday No. A1903-63      Sep 28, 2019
Big East Fork - Grassy Cove - Shining Creek Loop 8:00 AM
Hike 12.0, Drive 70, 2800 ft. ascent, Rated A-AA, Wilderness hike, limited to ten hikers, contact leader for reservation. p400
Jim Magura, 828-606-3989, jqs290@gmail.com and Judy Magura, 828-606-1490, quilter290@gmail.com
First Meeting Place: Home Depot off Exit 44 of I-40.
Second Meeting Place: Big East Fork large parking area on US 276 at 8:30 AM
A beautiful but strenuous hike with three of WNC’s most beautiful streams. We'll hike up Big East Fork, then Grassy Cove Ridge and the Art Loeb Trail to Shining Rock Gap, with great views, and then down Shining Creek. Two stream crossings may be wet crossings.
Topo(s): Shining Rock

Sunday No. A1903-131      Sep 29, 2019
Laurel Mtn Trail from Yellow Gap Road to Turkey Spring Gap 8:30 AM
Hike 10.0, Drive 55, 1500 ft. ascent, Rated A-B, p400
Sallye Sanders, 208-550-2070, sallye_sanders@yahoo.com
First Meeting Place: Asheville Outlets parking lot behind Waffle House off Exit 33 of I-26.
Second Meeting Place: Ingles on NC 191/280 (Mills River) by gas pumps at 8:45 AM
Form carpools and meet leader at second meeting place. From Yellow Gap, we’ll hike up the Laurel Mtn. Trail, Turkey Spring Gap, then return to Sassafras Gap, and turn downhill to the Slate Rock Creek Trail, following this pretty mountain stream down to Yellow Gap Rd. Short car shuttle.
Topo(s): Dunsmore Mt