hike report:Nine hikers, on a cloudy day in the high 60s, enjoyed this new hike that consists of segments of other CMC hikes. We started CCW on the "Boundary Trail", stopping for photos at the great overlook 5 hiking minutes in, and later crossing the BRP in 1.5 miles; then down an old road to the MST; left turn here, and followed the MST past Skinny Dip Falls and up to a pleasant open meadow above Graveyard Fields for lunch. Next came a 2-mile hike up to Upper Falls. The first 1.25 miles (approx.) is fine, but the last 3/4-mile is on a muddy and increasingly rocky and unpleasant trail up to the falls. We continued all the way to the right bend in the stream below the falls, where we snacked while watching the waterfall above and various families enjoying the rocky streambed and scenery. Next we hiked back down, went across Graveyard Fields to the parking lot, up the non-name connector to the Boundary trail. Then right and back up to the trailhead.
hike report:Ten of us enjoyed a very pleasant hike from Balsam Gap to Big Butt. We appreciated the freshly weeded trail and thank the CMC trail crew that was responsible. We were looking for turk's-cap lilies but they appeared to have been bitten by the cold. We saw none bloomed out, just a few buds. However, we were not disappointed by the view from Big Butt and Little Butt where we had lunch.
hike report:Eight Hikers showed up for this hike. Blue skies turned gray as we assembled in the parking lot forshadowing a repeat of the wet scout hike. But after a short while conditions improved and we had sunny clear weather for the remainder of the hike. After a snack at the intersection with the Buncombe Horse Trail we started up to Maple Camp Bald where we had our lunch. Conditions on the Horse trail were still soggy but passable. After lunch the real work of the hike began as we headed up the Mt Tom Spur Trail and back to our cars via the Crest Trail. We all knew what to expect with that and got a good workout, returning to our cars at 3:30. Thanks everyone!
scout report:Sunday 7/5 I scouted this hike with Allyn and two friends Manny and Bonnie. We headed down the 1.8 mile section of the Nature and Mt. Mitchell Trails to it's connection to the Buncombe Horse Trail. The weather cooperated with dappled sunshine through the mossy woods which reminded why I like the trails surrounding this Mt. The 2 mile horse trail was a challenge. It was wet and boggy for long stretches. We also had a brief shower. For "hike day" I recommend extra socks to change at lunch if need be. On hike day we will lunch at Maple Camp Bald, but yesterday we continued straight up the MT Tom Spur Trail to the Crest Trail. The views on the 2 mile section made the challenges worthwhile.
hike report:We had our limit of 10 strong hikers - 7 women and 3 men - on a beautiful Sunday predicted to be over 90 degrees in Asheville. We went out the Laurel Mtn trail to the connector to the Pilot Rock Trail, and down to the side trail to the base of Pilot Rock, an incredible rock formation used by rock climbers. The heavy rain started as we began our ascent up the Thompson Ridge Trail, but was relatively short lived and cooled us down nicely. We finished early at 2:30 - a fun day for everyone! Catherine Love
scout report:Four of us scouted the hike up from 816 (MST Crossing) up to Black Balsam, over Tennent Mountain and down to Ivester Gap and another mile down the lower trail to Shining Rock. But with threatening rain we turned around and headed back up to Sam’s Knob Parking area on the lower trail to complete the loop. Of particular note, trail conditions down from Tennent Mountain to Ivester Gap were extremely poor. The trail had significant amount of overgrowth with deep ruts caused by heavy rain over many years which resulted in narrow deep ruts and a considerable amount of thick overgrowth. Double trouble so to speak! We will take our time through this section of the hike. All in all we had glorious views on a clear sunny early morning hike. Hopefully on the scheduled hike we will make it out to Shining Rock as planned.
hike report:Despite the inevitable possibility of a summer thunderstorm in the afternoon, we started and ended the hike to Hump Mountain dry with no lightning and thundering. Eight of us started the hike to the largest AT shelter, a red barn, that is now closed. One hiker had trouble climbing one of the first hills up to Hump Mountain so the sweep walked back to the parking lot with the hiker and the two didn’t finish the hike. The co-leader shuttled between the two who turned back and the remaining hikers who completed the original hike. The other co-leader kept sardines for the trail runner who missed lunch. Both were the sweeps while another hiker led the return to the parking lot. Five completed one of the highest balds in Western North Carolina with one of the best views in the area. Coneflower, bee balm and angelica, black cohosh, black eyed susans lined the Appalachian Trail. A deer was also seen as well as a small non-venomous snake. The remote parking lot was nearly full and finding enough space for all of the cars was a challenge, but achievable. The cement blocked church at the Roaring Creek Road turnoff has now been covered in rock and grey plank siding so it was missed and we took a side trip to Minneapolis on the way to the trail.
hike report:Five hikers started and completed the strenuous in and out to and from Silers Bald. The rolling trail was muddy from recent rains, but we had no rain or thunder during the hike. Towering Turk's-cap lilies lined the first section of the trail and angelica and sunflowers were also blooming on this mostly AT hike. Scarlet beebalm filled a field adjacent to the Double Spring Gap Shelter where we had a snack break. We by-passed Clingmans Dome because of the crowds and quickly left the parking lot after the hike because of the overcrowding there.
scout report:Bruce & I scouted this hike on Thur. July 16th. We started the hike with overcast and foggy skies. Within the first mile the atmosphere started clearing and the rest of the hike was under a mix of clouds and sun with moderate breezes through out the day. The highest temp that I noted was 66 df. We started the hike at 10:15 am (we had left Home Depot at 8:30 am) and didn't return until approx 5:45 pm being on the trail for 7:45 min. I Recorded 9.8 mi. with 2470' assent/descent. I found this trail to be much more strenuous than I had remembered it being from past hikes. I found it difficult to maintain a steady pace due to the accents/descents which were somewhat technically difficult at times. We took a lunch break at the Double Springs shelter then proceeded to Silers Bald and on the return again took a break at the shelter. There are a number of long range views from this trail which adds to the quality of this hike. Due to the fact that this trail showed me that I was/am not able to maintain a pace that would be adequate for hikers that are able to maintain a pace that is commiserate for this hike I feel that I would be doing an injustice to the participants. Due to the aforementioned reasons and the fact that it is 140 mi. round trip and the CMC rules re: no car pooling I am not going to be able to lead the hike. I will post a cancellation (unless some one else would be willing to lead the hike) on Breaking News on the CMC website. There are times when one has to adjust to the realities of life!! Carroll K.
hike report:On a weather perfect day, eight hikers met the challenge of hiking 3050 ft. of elevation in 12 miles on the AT; beginning at Wayah Gap, we hiked to Siler Bald first, climbing a short way off the AT in the cooler morning sunshine through a meadow blooming with Pink Phlox and waist high vegetation to get to the top. The view was outstanding with 360 degree views at 5,216 ft. We turned around and hiked back through Wayah Gap to Wayah Bald which is also magnificent with 360 degree views at 5342 ft. There is a fire tower there on a totally different looking Bald. No meadow grasses and flowers but very informative information naming mountains seen from the Bald and interesting historical facts. Certainly a rigorous workout for us while enjoying the mountain scenery and each other. Donna
hike report:A full slate of nine hikers signed up and showed up for this hike. We had ideal weather conditions -- cool temperature in the morning, sunshine with no threat of rain at all, and moderate temperature in the afternoon. The expected wet crossing was a dry one for the skillful and confident rock hoppers within the group. A delight as we neared the top was coming across a patch of orange-fringed orchids. In addition, there were many kinds of mushrooms and fungi all along the way. We started around 9:45 am and got back to our cars by 3:15.
scout report:I first scouted this hike on June 11, in preparation for the Wednesday hike on June 24. The following is an excerpt from the June 11 scout report: "The hike started on Pretty Hollow Gap Trail that parallels Pretty Hollow Creek which was flowing briskly. The first mile was wide, flat and easy going. This was followed by a rough and rocky section before we reached the beginning of Palmer Creek Trail. The trail narrowed to a single track from that point, running gradually uphill .... good footing. We crossed two footlogs and encountered a wet crossing (a little above ankle height." Overall, expect shaded trail with possibly muddy sections; one wet crossing.
scout report:Susan scouted this hike with me on Monday, August 10. Our attempt was cut short due to early arrival of rain originally forecast for the afternoon. We completed the first three miles from Soco Gap, under mostly wet conditions, and then turned around. Fortunately, this section of the MST is well-maintained and well-drained as it climbs gradually. Very few muddy sections. After the first mile, the trail widens to a former forest service road and then presents us with a steeper climb for a short while. Lovely forest, lots of mushrooms and fungi. We just need a good weather day.
hike report:Nine hikers, including one first-time CMC hiker, and I got to enjoy this well-maintained section of the MST. We started at 9 am from Soco Gap and made it to Waterrock Knob by 11:15, having stopped at Howard's Bridge and Piet's Bench for short breaks. After lunch, part of the cloud cover had cleared for not-too-distant views, and we took a group photo there. We were back at the trailhead at 2 pm. No rain. Photo 1 is panoramic view from Piet's Bench, taken by Bill Snow.
scout report:I scouted this hike on a beautiful August Sunday. There is a substantial climb as you hike up Little Mt. Pisgah but with the early start, will be cooler and more enjoyable. It is a little overgrown in the first section compared to last spring. Didn’t see many other hikers until approaching Pisgah Inn. We will have a relatively early lunch there enjoying the view. The hike will end early afternoon with plenty of time for evening plans. Only one other car at the overlook so parking won’t be a problem.
hike report:This was a pleasant group of 7 hikers. We were on the trail at 8:30 and arrived at Pisgah Inn shortly after 11. We enjoyed the panoramic view during lunch, relaxing on Pisgah Inn’s Adirondack chairs. Due to the possibility of thunderstorms, we didn’t stay long and made it back to our cars at 1:30 without a drop of rain.
scout report:Hemphill Bald is a classic hike in Great Smoky Mountains National Park. As I got on the trail with Peter and Stacy Hodes, we saw three elk just ambling up the trail going the same way. We followed behind them for quite a while before they decided to move off the trail and up the mountain. After the hike, we visited the Masonic Marker on the Blue Ridge Parkway. Thank you, Stacy and Peter, for helping me scout the hike.
hike report:A sunny, cool day which was perfect for walking up to Hemphill Bald and back. We talked about the legacy of Cataloochee Ranch. When we got to the top, a small horse group was about to leave. They were amazed that we walked 5 miles up to the bald. I pointed out that we had to hike five miles down.
hike report:Six brave people chose to join me for this East Fork of the Pigeon River hike on Saturday. The forecast didn't look great, but sometimes it turns out better than expected. Well, not this time, but the group was awesome in turning it into a fun challenge. It started raining in earnest about an hour in, and at about 2.2 miles, we decided to do an about face and head back - didn't even stop to SEE the beautiful pool, but at that point, we were soaked to the skin and lounging on the rocks or swimming didn't interest any of us. We got enough wading in the puddles in the trail on the way back. Didn't even stop for a break or lunch. So, we hiked about 3 hours, covering about 4 1/2 miles round trip. Thanks to all for being such great sports, and thanks to Jeff Wilcox for supplying the photos!
scout report:Five waterfalls in one hike. What other hike and forest can brag on that? And we'll visit a lake and two cemeteries as well. Thanks to Peter and Stacy of Charlotte for helping scout the hike. Down at Hooker Falls, we met the Monday Trash Bash clean-up crew.
hike report:What a delightful day! We zigzagged on many trails from Hooker Fall parking lot as only can be done in DuPont Forest. As this was my CMC Sunday hike book launch - DuPont Forest: A history, I spoke a little on the history of the forest and answered lots of questions. The forest was not crowded at all until we got to the covered bridge. Then, of course, we saw groups of people visiting the waterfalls. We ended the day about 2:30pm and some of us went to Kiwi Gelato in Brevard.
scout report:When Donna and I began our scout of this hike on the morning of Sept 16, the weather around Asheville was overcast and foggy but the summit of Mt. Mitchell was sunny with clear blue skies. This made for spectacular dreamlike views from the observation tower, with a blanket of clouds below and only a few of the higher peaks showing through like islands in a white sea. Having led this hike 3 years ago, I conveniently forgot how technically challenging it is. The first 2 miles descending the Old Mitchell Trail is steep, rocky, rooted, wet and muddy. Poles are highly recommended as it can be very slippery. We stopped for a rest by the Park Office and then continued on the Commissary Trail which is mostly wide and flat although considerably wet. We were pleasantly surprised to still find many ripe blueberries along the way and took our time eating and enjoying the beautiful day. We started back up on the 1.5-mile Mt. Mitchell Trail, which is another technical trail through the woods. We got back to the parking lot at 4:00pm for a total distance of 6.5 miles. Given the time, we chose not to go out to Mt. Craig which would have added another 2+ hours. Don’t forget that temperatures at Mt. Mitchell are about 10 degrees cooler than in Asheville so layer accordingly.