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Wednesday No. W1701-438                  Feb. 22
Rich Mountain, Round Top Trail and Lovers Leap                
8:00 AM
Hike 9.5, Drive 70, 2200 ft. ascent, Rated A-AA
Randy & Beth Fluharty, cell: 828-423-9030, rfluharty54@gmail.com
From Tanyard Gap we will go north on the A.T. to the beautiful views from Rich Mountain, then descend to Hot Springs via Round Top Ridge Trail; we'll culminate the day with a short climb to Lovers Leap and finish on the A.T. in Hot Springs. Car shuttle. Topo(s): Hot Springs; also FS Hot Springs Harmon Den map and NatGeo map # 782

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  Scout Report:  Beth and I picked a beautiful day for this scout, with temperatures in the upper 60's. Starting at 9:45, we climbed the AT from Tanyard Gap to Rich Mtn. where we had a snack and climbed the tower to take in the 360 degree view. Then we backtracked to the Round Top Ridge Trail, following it down to River Road near Hot Springs. This trail is mostly downhill, but not steep except in a couple of places. The trail is a less used trail, but has a good foot tread with few rocks and roots and had outstanding winter views. Part of the lower trail follows a nice stream. We passed through the area burned by the huge fire in April, 2016 and saw the signs of renewal. We stopped for lunch on a knoll with a good winter view and then continued down to the road. A short walk along River road brought us to our car at the Silvermine parking lot. Leaving our packs in the car we took the loop up to Lover's Leap, a steep trail, but with a payoff of a beautiful view of Hot Springs and the surrounding mountains. On the way down, we came across a huge tree down on the trail, which took a bit of effort to get around. I have reported this, so maybe it will be removed by the time we take the hike. We arrived back at our car at 3:20 and shuttled back to Tanyard Gap to retrieve our second car.    Randy Fluharty

Hike Report:  With hopes of improving weather, five brave souls took to the trail at 9:15 and climbed on the AT from Tanyard Gap to the intersection with Round Top Ridge Trail. At that point, with a light rain/mist falling and no further hopes for a view from the tower on Rich Mtn., we decided to shorten the hike by continuing on the Round Top Ridge Trail. Despite the weather, the forest was enchanting with the mist and the eerie remains of the forest fire that took place in April, 2016. We had brief periods of no rain and the mist cleared somewhat, giving us a winter view of the next ridges through the trees. Continuing down the trail, we reached the River Road and walked along the French Broad River back to our cars at the Silvermine trailhead, arriving at 12:30. We decided to call it a day, skipping the loop up to Lovers Leap. In spite of the shortened hike and the damp weather, we all agreed that it was good to get out on the trail and departed in good spirits.    Randy Fluharty

Saturday No. A1701-374                  Feb. 25
MST: Good Road to Bald Knob                
8:30 AM
Hike 10, Drive 80, 2500 ft. ascent, Rated A-AA
Barbara Morgan, cell: 828-460-7066, barbc129@gmail.com
AT-MST Park on Good Road in McDowell County off US 221. Hike on MST to North Fork of Catawba River, cross bridge, and ascend to top of Bald Knob. A steep hike, but spectacular winter views. This hike offers an opportunity to see how the forest has recovered from a forest fire 1-1/2 years ago. Return by same route. Second meeting place: Ingles parking lot off Exit 64 of I-40 at 8:50 AM. Topo(s): Little Switzerland

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  Scout Report:  Due to some scheduling issues, I didn't actually scout the hike this time. However, I've led it twice, and on Saturday Steve Pierce (who has also done it with me) will definitely be there. The hike is straightforward, so route-finding isn't an issue.

It's a challenging hike with 2500' elevation gain over the 4.7 miles to the rocky outcrop at the top (and return by the same route), but it is a beautiful one. Great views along the way and from the top.

My previous scout had us back at the cars at 4:00, then just the drive back to wherever you started computing into back home time.

Look forward to seeing you on Saturday if you'll be able to make it. I'm leading it again as a Wednesday hike on March 8.    Barbara Morgan

Hike Report:  After about 30 seconds of drizzle, the skies cleared, turning it into a beautiful, warm, February day. Fourteen of us enjoyed this varied hike in McDowell County that follows Good Road to where we picked up the MST at a nice bridge crossing the Catawba River, and back onto the old Good Road roadbed (there must have been an auto crossing at some point in time). From there, the trail winds its way up to Bald Knob, using many switchbacks, with great views of the Black Mtn range to the west and Lake James to the east. On the way back down, we noticed smoke to the west in the distance that was likely a beginning forest fire – it wasn’t evident as we stopped for our snack break on the way up. It’s a reminder that things are still really dry, so caution is advised. Bald Knob had had a forest fire about two years ago, and I was curious about what regrowth I’d see. It was less than I’d anticipated, probably due to the fact that it’s been very dry lately and also it looked like the area had been burned before the more recent one. Many burned spots still barren, but saw some rhodos and laurel maybe 8” high. Although there were some small fallen trees across the trail, it was evident that whatever club maintains this trail had been working on clearing and on the trail-bed. The new blazes nailed into burned trees sure stood out.

It was a congenial group who hiked well together. A special thanks to Steve Pierce for helping out and to Rich Sampson who served as sweep. We started hiking about 10:00 (multiple meeting points slowed our start) and finished about 4:00.
    Barbara Morgan
     
Sunday No. A1701-283                  Feb. 26
Montreat Ramble #2                
9:00 AM
Hike 8, Drive 40, 1500 ft. ascent, Rated B-B
Danny Bernstein, cell: 828-450-0747, danny@hikertohiker.com
This will be a moderate loop hike starting in Montreat, climbing to the great view from Lookout Mountain, then on to Pot Cove Gap and down the Graybeard Trail to our cars. If the weather is good, we might go up to Walker's Knob, another mile or so. Second meeting place: Ingles parking lot off Exit 64 of I-40 at 9:20 AM. Topo(s): Montreat; also Montreat Trail Map

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  Scout Report:  Debby Jones and I scouted the Montreat hike on a beautiful warm day. We climbed up to Lookout Point where we saw this wonderful view. Then we zigged and zagged back down and eventually walked past the Bear Hunting Club.

We hiked to Pot Cove Gap where .... well, you'll just have to see for yourself. That's as far as the hike will go.

We started down and eventually got back through Montreat College and our cars.

Montreat has many artifacts to make the hike interesting.

Thanks, Debby for helping scout the hike.    Danny Bernstein
  
Hike Report:  The sky was a solid blue all day aWe s 15 hikers climbed up to Lookout Rock. Not easy but it was the hardest climb of the day.
We took a variety of trails until Pot Cove Gap which had a new pot. The Montreat Wilderness folks also put in a new picnic table.

When we got back to the town of Montreat, we were able to get into the church and see the world-famous fresco. About half of us went to Dripolator in Black Mountain for coffee ++

    Danny Bernstein
  
Half-Day No. H1701-435                  Feb. 26
Turkey Pen – Pea Gap Ramble                
*12:00 PM
Hike 5, Drive 50, 700 ft. ascent, Rated C-C
Dick Zimmerer, 828-989-0480, dd1zz@yahoo.com
P400 *Form carpools at Toys-R-Us on NC 191 across from Asheville Outlets and meet leader(s) at Turkey Pen parking lot at 12:30 PM. This will be a moderate hike in the Turkey Pen area. We'll cross the S. Mills River pedestrian bridge, hike up the beautiful Pounding Mill trail and return on the Mullinax Trail. River crossings have bridges. Topo(s): Pisgah Forest; also NatGeo map #780

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  Scout Report:  Depending upon the weather and everyone's wishes when we get to the trailhead, we will hike one of two lollipop hikes on Sunday. Both cross the suspension bridge 0.4 miles from the trailhead and neither has any wet crossings but do have seeps. Both have rocks, sticks and roots but both are fairly protected in case of cold weather and the Club doesn’t hike these trails very often.
Choice #1 is to turn left on the South Mills River trail to the Mullinax Trail to the Squirrel Gap Trail, down the Poundingmill Trail and back to the bridge on the South Mills River Trail. I GPS’d this hike to be 6.6 miles and 1200’ elevation gain. There are 12 rock hops coming down the Poundingmill. Obviously if there is ice on the trail, we should not do rock hops. This is not a “stroll” but we can do it if EVERYONE is feeling strong.
Choice #2 is to turn right after crossing the suspension bridge on an unmarked, narrow, somewhat overgrown but passable trail that parallels the Bradley Creek Trail but on the far side of the river. This avoids a major wet crossing at 1.0 miles. There we will join the main Bradley Creek trail to Pea Gap taking the Squirrel Gap trail to the Mullinex Trail finally returning to the bridge on the South Mills River Trail. I GPS’d this hike to be 5.0 miles and 930’ elevation gain. It takes about 1 hour less than Choice #1.
A map is available showing all these trails at Club Hike #534. Poles are strongly recommended for both choices. Hope to see you Sunday.
    Dick Zimmerer

Hike Report:  12 good people hiked a lollipop set of trails on a beautiful spring-like day. We crossed the swinging bridge over the South Mills River and took the unmarked trail downstream until we joined the Bradley Creek trail. Then we turned up the Squirrel Gap trail until turning left onto the Mullinax trail which dead ends into the South Mills River trail which led us back to the parking lot. Almost 5 miles with no wet crossings.    Dick Zimmerer
     
Wednesday No. W1701-279                  Mar. 1
Montreat Trestle Grade - Pot Cove Trail                
*9:00 AM
Hike 8, Drive 35, 1900 ft. ascent, Rated B-A
Laura Frisbie, cell: 828-337-5845, laurafrisbie@charter.net
*Form carpools at Westgate and meet leader(s) at Ingles parking lot off Exit 64 of I-40 in Black Mountain at 9:20 AM. A partial loop hike over Lookout Rock and along the East Ridge and Trestle Road Trails to Pot Cove. Return along the Mitchell Road and Trestle Road Trails. A moderately strenuous beginning followed by a very gentle return. Good winter views. Topo(s): Montreat; also Montreat Trail Map

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Sunday No. A1701-355                  Mar. 5
Devil Fork Gap to Carmen                
*8:00 AM
Hike 10.7, Drive 95, 2400 ft. ascent, Rated A-AA
Tish Desjardins, cell: 828-380-1452, desraylet@aol.com
AT-MST *Form carpools at 160 Zillicoa St. (USFS parking lot), off Exit 25 of I-26 and meet leader(s) at corner of US 25/70 & NC 208 at 8:45 AM. Hike along nine of the most scenic miles on the A.T., featuring two shelters, a historic gravesite and beautiful views from atop Big Butt. After the Jerry's Cabin shelter, we'll turn left and go down the Fork Ridge Trail to the parking lot in the Carmen area. Car shuttle. Topo(s): Greystone; also NatGeo map #782

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  Hike Report:  This was a beautiful, perfect hiking day trekking southbound on the AT with the near and distant mountain peaks in NC and TN in splendor along the states' border. Observed some small snow patches along the trail on part of the sheltered side of the mountains. Ran into several early thru-hikers headed to Maine -- one being from England. Really appreciate the recent years' new relocated portion of the AT in this area!!    Tish

Half-Day No. H1701-295                  Mar. 5
A.T./Lovers Leap/Pump Gap/ Silvermine Loop                
*11:00 AM
Hike 5, Drive 80, 1100 ft. ascent, Rated C-B
Jack Dalton, 828-622-3704, jckdalton9@gmail.com
*Form carpools at 160 Zillicoa St. (USFS parking lot), off Exit 25 of I-26 and meet leader(s) at NOC parking area off US 25 along the French Broad River at 11:45 PM. A variation on hike #295, this is a loop hike heading north on the A.T. up Lovers Leap, along the ridge above Hot Springs to Pump Gap, down the Pump Gap Trail to Silvermine Campground and back to the parking area. This will be a joint hike with the Hot Springs Mountain Club. Topo(s): Hot Springs

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  Hike Report:  A beautiful day in a beautiful area with 15 congenial hikers (including one new member on her first CMC hike!), we tromped up to Lovers Leap on the AT for views of Hot Springs and the French Broad River - nobody leaped! - and on beyond to a picnic area on the ridge with more views and began to see some of the burned areas from the Silvermine Forest Fire last April. The climbing done, we undulated along the ridge and eventually turned downward to Pump Gap. After a break, we began the descent down the Pump Gap Trail, following Silvermine Creek with several rocky crossings and more evidence of the forest fire. We noted that the fire did not cross the trail - remaining on the western side, as if the trail were a barrier! We passed through an area that was used for storage of timbers, etc and a couple of block houses for explosives. Then on to the USFS Silvermine Group Campground and the road back to the parking lot. We stopped at the kiosk at the trailhead for the "old AT" - now the Lovers Leap Trail - and read about the never-been-found silver mine. We will need to come back and look for it another time.
Finally back to our cars, saying our goodbyes and going on our ways.    Jack Dalton

Wednesday No. W1701-374                  Mar. 8
MST: Good Road to Bald Knob                
8:30 AM
Hike 10, Drive 80, 2500 ft. ascent, Rated A-AA
Barbara Morgan, cell: 828-460-7066, barbc129@gmail.com
AT-MST Park on Good Road in McDowell County off US 221. Hike on MST to North Fork of Catawba River, cross bridge, and ascend to top of Bald Knob. A steep hike, but spectacular winter views. This hike offers an opportunity to see how the forest has recovered from a forest fire 1-1/2 years ago. Return by same route. Second meeting place: Ingles parking lot off Exit 64 of I-40 in Black Mountain at 8:50 AM. Topo(s): Little Switzerland

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  Scout Report:  I led this hike on Feb 25, so if you want some detail from that hike, just look at the Hike Report from that date. Right now (Saturday) the forecast for Wednesday calls for a chance of rain, but I won't cancel unless it looks like it will really be socked in, which I doubt.

It's a challenging hike with 2500' elevation gain over the 4.7 miles to the rocky outcrop at the top (and return by the same route), but it is a beautiful one. Great views along the way and from the top.

We got back to the cars at 4:00, then just the drive back to wherever you started computing into back home time.

You've probably noticed that we won't be using Westgate for leaving cars while we hike, so go ahead and plan on meeting at Black Mtn, the Ingles parking lot near Mc Donalds. Look forward to seeing you on Wednesday.    Barbara Morgan

Hike Report:  We had a glorious day for this hike! There were 10 of us, and it was one of those days that it was just good to be out on the trail. On the way up to Bald Knob, we encountered four guys working on the trail, and they'd cut away the five or so trees that had been across the trail when I did the hike on Feb 25. That area of the MST is not in our maintenance responsibility, and it was nice to be able to thank them for their work - being able to see the changes they'd made. The views from the trail and various lookout spots were wonderful - the whole Black Mountain range, Hawksbill and Shortoff, Lake James, and many others. Thanks to all, and s special thanks to Steve for his mountain identification and to Jim for acting as sweep.    Barbara Morgan

Saturday No. A1701-256                  Mar. 11
Moore Cove Figure-8 Loop                
*10:00 AM
Hike 7, Drive 70, 1050 ft. ascent, Rated B-B
Jan Onan, 828-698-3237, cell: 828-606-5188, janonan@bellsouth.net
P400, WC100 *Form carpools at Toys-R-Us on NC 191 across from Asheville Outlets and meet leader(s) at Pisgah Forest Bi-Lo at 10:30 AM. This moderate double-loop trail follows two overgrown USFS paths. Expect a lot of scrambling over blowdowns, a couple of short steep sections and two minor creek crossings. There is one good view of Looking Glass Rock, several waterfalls, and other views visible only when there are no leaves on the trees. Topo(s): Shining Rock; also NatGeo. map #780

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  Scout Report:  Sunny skies and beautiful weather for our work in clipping and sawing to clear some of the trails on this hike. 2 years ago, we counted 45 downed trees that we had to go over or under. This year, Bruce counted 89! We cleared the small stuff to make the blocked areas as passable as can be. Be prepared to duck under or climb over many of these downed trees on this hike. Also, the dry leaves which have accumulated on the steep hills will be slick and cover the trail making footing tricky. We took our time and really enjoyed the day. Started at 9:22am and finished a bit before 3:00.    Jan Onan
  
Hike Report:  Four hikers joined me on this great hike for a total of five. We had little troubles traversing the many downed trees. The weather was in the 40s which we found great for this hike. It started to snow and by the time we got to the top view spot, the snow cloud was too thick to see the mountain views, however, during most of the hike, we could see Looking Glass Rock. We saw a few signs of spring;yellow and purple violets and the beginning of trout lilies.
The GPS found this hike to be just under 6 miles.    Jan Onan
     
Sunday No. A1701-519                  Mar. 12
Raven Cliff Falls, Cathedral Rock, Dismal Trail Loop                
*9:00 AM
Hike 9, Drive 95, 2300 ft. ascent, Rated B-AA
Norm Sharp, 864-268-9409, norm.sharp@att.net
WC100 *Form carpools at Toys-R-Us on NC 191 across from Asheville Outlets and meet leader(s) at Caesars Head State Park visitors Center at 10:00 AM. Note: First day of DST.This scenic loop hike features waterfalls and spectacular stone cliffs. From the Raven Cliff parking lot, we take the #13 Gum Gap Trail, then #14 Naturaland Trust Trail descending down to the #12 Dismal Trail where we will cross the rushing waters of Matthews Creek, ascend the dramatic Cathedral Cliff alongside and over Raven Cliff Falls and back to cars. $2/person State Park fee. Second meeting place: Bi-Lo parking lot at Pisgah Forest at 8:30 AM. Topo(s): Table Rock; also Mountain Bridge Wilderness Area trail map

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  Scout Report:  Linda and I scouted this hike yesterday, March 3. I will hike it clockwise. We can make a short side trip to the Raven Cliff Falls overlook, then steep downhill to Matthews Creek on the Dismal Trail. We cross a log bridge over Matthews Creek, then up the rugged Naturaland Trust Trail past the cathedral to the bridge above Raven Cliff Falls, then back to cars. This is a strenuous hike, 9 miles with 2300 foot elevation gain and loss. It took us 6 1/2 hours. There are good views of Caesar's Head. 4 ladders are involved and a short sidesaddle traverse of a rock ledge. The second meeting place is 9:30AM at Pisgah Forest Bi-Lo, not 8:30 as in the description. Meet me at 10AM at Caesar's Head State Park headquarters. According to the hike log, this trip has not been led since 2008 and never on a weekend.    Norm Sharp
     
Half-Day No. H1701-182                  Mar. 12       (canceled)
Green River Cove                
*11:30 AM
Hike 5.5, Drive 75, 800 ft. ascent, Rated C-C
Paula Massey, 828 299-0226, massey.paula@gmail.com
*Form carpools at Toys-R-Us on NC 191 across from Asheville Outlets and meet leader(s) at NE corner of Cracker Barrel parking lot, off Exit 53 of I-26 at 12:00 noon. Note: First day of DST. This is a moderate in-and-out hike along the scenic Green River to the junction with the Pulliam Creek Trail. Expect a few early wildflowers and maybe even kayakers on the river. Topo(s): Cliffield Mountain; also Trails of the Green River Gamelands map

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  Scout Report:  This is a lovely leisurely hike intended to "stop and look" at the beautiful wildflowers and scenic river. We discovered 14 different wildflowers in various stages of bloom. And next week should be even more spectacular! A special thanks to the three CMC members who joined me on this scouting trip.    Paula Massey

Wednesday No. W1701-268                  Mar. 15
Hospital Rock – Rainbow Falls                
*9:00 AM
Hike 8, Drive 95, 2000 ft. ascent, Rated B-A
Jim & Judy Magura, cell: 828-606-1490, jqs290@gmail.com
WC100 *First meeting place: Toys-R-Us on NC 191 across from Asheville Outlets. This is a challenging hike in Jones Gap State Park in S.C. Hiking up past Hospital Rock on the rebuilt trail reopened in 2015, we will enjoy a great view at lunchtime from Pretty Place. After lunch we will walk along a road for a short distance, then turn downhill past beautiful Rainbow Falls onto a trail down to the river and back to our cars. NOTE: $2/person parking fee at trailhead. Second meeting place: NE corner of Cracker Barrel parking lot off Exit 53 of I-26 at 9:30 AM. Topo(s): Cleveland, Standingstone Mtn.; also Mountain Bridge Wilderness map

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  Scout Report:  New Fee Schedule $5.00 per person at SC State Park - This hike is a bit more strenuous and technically demanding than most, but a great adventure none-the-less. We started off with a very steep 2.5 mile uphill climb to Hospital Rock and then another half mile of even steeper terrain over and under rocks, boulders and roots. However, despite the difficulties, we were rewarded with some great views. Approaching the top at an intersecting trail we stopped for a lunch break. Fortunately, the next 2 miles after lunch were over gentle forest trails. At the start of the decent we took a short side trail to Pretty Place, which afforded awesom views of South Carolina. Pretty Place is frequent used for weddings and ceremonies, but none planned at the time of our arrival. Returning back to the main trail we descended steeply to Rainbow Falls using ropes placed over some of the more difficult steep sections. We took some time to enjoy Rainbow Falls and headed on back for the final leg of our scout. Weather was in the low 60’s with full sun.

First meeting spot IToys R US across from Asheville Outlet Mall at 9:00 am, Second Meeting Spot Cracker Barrel off of exit 53 at 9:30.    Jim and Judy Magura
     
Sunday No. A1701-712                  Mar. 19
Purchase Knob -Hemphill Bald                
*8:30 AM
Hike 7.5, Drive 95, 1500 ft. ascent, Rated B-B
Laura Frisbie, 828-337-5845, laurafrisbie@gmail.com
900M *First meeting place: Home Depot off Exit 44 of I-40. This hike offers a good workout with beautiful scenery. We will hike from the Science Center access road via Ferguson Cabin to our lunch spot at Hemphill Bald in the GSMNP, and return via the Science Center. Second meeting place: Exxon station on US 276 just off Exit 20 of I-40 at 9:00 AM, but contact leader first. Topo(s): Dellwood, Bunches Bald; also NatGeo map #317

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  Scout Report:  Gorgeous! Winter views with sunny skies, so cool to watch skiers on the slopes down below. Cold and Windy! (even though 60 degrees in Asheville). So bring layers for both warmth and wind regardless of weather here. AND the hike was 8.5 miles with 2200' elevation, due to parking a mile away from the trail head.    Laura Frisbie

Half-Day No. H1701-702                  Mar. 19
DuPont Forest: Buck Forest P.L. #1                
*12:00 PM
Hike 5.6, Drive 94, 680 ft. ascent, Rated C-C
Stuart English, cell: 828-384-4870, stuengo@comporium.net
*Form carpools at Toys-R-Us on NC 191 across from Asheville Outlets and meet leader(s) at Pisgah Forest Bi-Lo at 12:30 PM. We’ll see spectacular High Falls, three lakes and the site of an old DuPont film manufacturing plant where once 1000 people worked. Topo(s): Standingstone Mountain; also DuPont State Recreational Forest map, 2014 revison

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  Scout Report:  Bonnie asked me to lead this hike for her this Sunday and I scouted it today with two friends.
The hike is, as I remembered it, a nice but rather complicate hike as Dupont hikes often are.
This led to a mistake on my part that led to a bushwack up the side of a rocky pluton (?). Later as we sat at Lake Dense we thought this might be Joanna Mountain that we almost tried to climb over. But I think I have it now and I will try to make it a good hike for you.    Stuart English
     
Hike Report:  14 people showed up at Bi Lo for this hike. The day started out cold and breezy and pretty much stayed that way. But all agreed it was great hiking weather. The group was great, the hike went off very well, and Bonnie, if you are reading this, I was happy to lead it. We had a few confrontations with bikers, but we found if we made enough noise it was enough of a distraction to keep them from attacking us. Just joking, they are people as nice as we are who do different things. We share the trails with them. We decided the description for this hike is inaccurate and cannot deliver all that it promises, like three lakes, the old plant property, etc. This should be changed. Also, as Bobbi mentioned, the driving distance has changed since leaving Westgate. This will be something that effect many hikes.    Stuart English
     
Wednesday No. W1701-644                  Mar. 22
Mingus Mill Semi-circular                
*8:00 AM
Hike 10.4, Drive 110, 2800 ft. ascent, Rated A-AA
Steve Pierce, 828-724-4999, cell: 828-442-8482, stevepierce50@gmail.com
900M *First meeting place: Home Depot off Exit 44 of I-40. We’ll hike up Newton Bald to a former bald with good views from the ridge top, especially with the leaves down. We will then descend on the Mingus Creek Trail. Short car shuttle. Second meeting place: Maggie Valley Post Office at 8:30 AM, but contact leader first. Topo(s): Smokemont; also NatGeo map #317

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  Scout Report:  I scouted this enjoyable hike on a Spring-like day on Feb. 1. Most of the day’s climb (2,800 ft.) is on the Newton Bald Trail from Smokemont Campground to the junction with the Mingus Creek Trail on Newton Bald (elev. 5160 ft.). The peak is no longer a bald, but there are good views through the trees. The Mingus Creek Trail follows a ridge with good views before descending along the creek. There are a few crossings that were easy rock hops. Our total distance was 10.5 miles. This hike has a two-and-a-half mile car shuttle. I m looking forward to seeing you on the hike.    Steve Pierce
     
Hike Report:  Nineteen hikers enjoyed a cool sunny day on two trails in the Smokies. We started with a 4.7 mile 2,800 ft. climb up to Newton Bald. It is steep in places and once we got to the ridge the views to the north and south were good. We ate lunch at the trail junction near the summit of Newton Bald. A few bushwhacked to the summit during lunch. After lunch we continued 5.7 miles on the Mingus Creek Trail. The upper part of the trail follows a ridge with views and several rhododendron tunnels. The lower part of the trail descends along Mingus Creek to the parking lot at Mingus Mill. thanks to everyone for making it a great day.    Steve Pierce
     

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