CMC Monthly Hike Reports

June 24, 2011 -- Looking Back


All Day Saturday and Sunday hikes

SUNDAY NO. A1102-729 June 5
Up and Over Grandfather Mountain 8:30 AM
(Bernard Elias Favorite Hike Series #10)
Hike 7, Drive 170, 2100 ft. ascent, Rated B-AA
Ted Snyder, 864-638-3686, tedsnyderjr@bellsouth.net
Expect steep trails both going up and down as we hike from the BRP over Grandfather Mtn. to NC 105. Parts of five trails and all of a sixth will be used. After a warm-up on the cusp of Boone Bowl, we head for Calloway Peak (5946 ft.), the highest point on Grandfather Mtn. Wilson Creek Wild and Scenic River extends to the south from its headwaters below Calloway Peak. Enough long distance views to satisfy everyone, and ladders for the squeamish. Car shuttle. Second meeting place: Ingles parking lot at Exit 64 off I-40 at 8:50 AM. Topo: Grandfather Mtn.; also NatGeo map #783


A nine person group made one of the better hiking experiences in Bernard’s Series. Clear weather, on the hot side, but a refreshing breeze about half the time. Atmosphere clear for views of at least ten miles. Lots of peaks were identified. Some late spring flowers.

The trip was entirely inside the new Grandfather Mountain State Park. The route was pieced together from segments of six trails, in this order:  Tanawha trail; Nuwati trail; Cragway trail; Daniel Boone Scout trail; Grandfather trail, and Profile trail. Walked a short piece of the Boone Creek Lumber Co. railroad grade.

This was photography day. Stopped about six times at rock outcroppings on Cragway trail to enjoy views of the Boone Bowl. Each one was better than the last. Took every side trail, to visit campgrounds, Hi-Balsam Shelter and grand views from cliff tops.

 A long stop was made at the big lava face. Efforts were made to identify some of the country rocks embedded in it back during the volcanic episode.

 Another stop ensued at the view of “the Profile.”  The profile reveals a face, much like that of the Old Man of the Mountain. It is from this profile that the name “Grandfather Mountain” is derived.

 There were many other adventures, but I will mention the homemade brownies at lunch, and the inspection of the airplane wreckage to which we took a short detour. Some were considering a flight out, but an inconsiderate person had removed the engine. Ted Snyder.

SATURDAY NO. A1102-229 June 11
Mills River O/L to Chestnut Cove O/L 10:00 AM
Hike 7.9, Drive 38, 1200 ft. ascent, Rated B-B
Lenny Bernstein, 828-236-0192, lsberns@att.net
P400 This is a pleasant MST hike, mostly downhill, with one climb over Ferrin Knob. Second meeting place: BRP French Broad Overlook at 10:15 AM Topo: Dunsmore Mtn; also NatGeo map #780

Six hikers walked on the MST, which was full of flowers. Mountain laurel, flame azealas, firepinks were at their peaks. We walked on the MST section, maintained by Ken and Carol Deal which was impeccable. The next section was Lenny's, which as they say in the training biz, could have used some improvements. We had lunch on Ferrin Knob, trying to stay out of the sun. The flower on the right is a swamp leather flower,  clemaClematis crispaIt's very invasive.Yes, it was hot but it was a fun and easy day.  Danny

SUNDAY NO. A1102-730 June 12
Mills River, Cantrell, Mullinax Loop *9:00 AM
Hike 9, Drive 50, 1500 ft. ascent, Rated A-B
Bruce Bente, 828-692-0116, (cell: 828-699-6296), bbente@bellsouth.net
P400 *Form carpools at Westgate, and meet leader at Turkey Pen trailhead at 9:30 AM. From Turkey Pen, we will do a loop on the S. Mills River, Cantrell Creek, Squirrel Gap and Mullinax trails. Topo: Pisgah Forest; also NatGeo map #780

 I led this hike due to the original hike leader leaving town.  Eight hikers showed up on a day that promised to be hot and humid.  We reversed the advertised direction to get the climbing out of the way in the morning, and went up Mullinax and Squirrel Gap Trails, and descended on Cantrell Creek Trail.  It was a pleasant woodlands hike which turned out to be 11.6 miles long by GPS measurements.  If it is done when leaves are off the trees, there might be a few viewpoints along upper Squirrel Gap Trail.  The Cantrell Creek Trail has about 8 stream crossings, which most of us were able to do dry-footed due to low water levels.  About 45 minutes before the end of the hike, a strong thunderstorm hit and made hiking interesting for the rest of the hike.
A nice new sign has been erected at the Cantrell Lodge site, replacing the old sign.

SUNDAY NO. A1102-657 June 19
Carvers Gap – Yellow Gap 8:00 AM
Hike 8, Drive 130-140, 2300 ft. (SB), 1100 ft. (NB) ascent, Rated B-AA (SB) or B-B (NB)
Bruce Bente, 828-692-0116, bbente@bellsouth.net and Carroll Koepplinger, 828-667-0723, carrollkoepp@bellsouth.net
SB6K Key swap hike. From Carvers Gap, hike north on the AT through open meadows featuring spectacular 360º views and rhododendrons and azaleas in bloom, with a side trip over Grassy Ridge Bald (6160 ft.) to a scenic lunch spot. We’ll then return to the AT and follow it north past the AT shelter barn, and turn down to our cars at the end of Roaring Creek Rd. Reverse for other direction. Second meeting place: Burnsville McDonalds at 8:40 AM. Topos: Carvers Gap, White Rocks Mtn.; also NatGeo. Map #783

16 eager hikers showed up for what would be a great hike between Carvers Gap and Yellow Mountain Gap in the Roans.  Weather at Westgate was light rain, not too intimidating. Weather at Burnsville was a steady rain with lightning forecast, so we decided to cancel the key swap and do an in-and-out from Yellow Mountain Gap.

Uh-oh, by the time we got to the trailhead, it was heavy rain and lots of lightning.  14 hikers bailed out, but four of us hiked to the AT barn shelter and watched the rain from inside while waiting for it to end. That didn't work, so we drove to Carvers Gap in hopes that it would be dry there.

Rain stopped and it started to clear...until 2 miles from the Gap, at which time a biblical deluge began, accompanied by strong winds.  We don't give up easy, so next we drove to Sams Gap--success!  The sun was almost out, so we hiked an enjoyable few miles north on the A.T. and back. Bruce Bente. Photo by Ashok Kudva

Half-day hikes


HALF-DAY NO. H1102-002 June 5
NC 128 to Balsam Gap 11:00 AM
Hike 5, Drive 70, 1610 ft. ascent, Rated C-A
Nonmembers, call leader: Jane Laping, 828-277-7342, janelaping@sbcglobal.net
SB6K MST over Blackstock Knob. Varied trail, views and unusually fine rock work in trail building. Second meeting place: Craven Gap at 11:20 AM. Topo: Montreat

Seven hikers made the trek up to Blackstock Knob (6300 feet) on a warm afternoon, but clouds moved in and a breeze cooled the trail down a bit. One of our hikers was doing the SB6K challenge and confirmed with his GPS when we had reached the peak. Another hiker told us that the remains of a plane crash were a short distance off the trail. Portions of the trail go through a rain forest with lush mosses, abundant ferns and “nurse logs” – moss covered fallen trees that serve as a nursery for raising trees from seed. 



HALF-DAY NO. H1102-717 June 12
Sunburst to Waterfalls *10:40 AM
Hike 6.2, Drive 40, 600 ft. ascent, Rated B-C
Nonmembers, call leader: Bobbi Powers, 828-667-5419, bobbipowers@live.com
P400 *Form carpools at Westgate, and meet leader at Dollar General store on US 19/23 off Exit 37 of I-40 at 11:00 AM. A new hike which starts near Sunburst Campground. It's mostly on a grassy forest service road, with 2 side trips to waterfalls. Topos: Waynesville, Sam Knob

 The sound of rushing water accompanied us all the way up one of the most scenic, pleasant Forest Service roads (#97) imaginable.  After all the storms of the past few days, there were rain creeks and two terrific, gushing waterfalls to admire on side trips.  Although we heard lots of thunder around us as we descended, we stayed dry, making a very pleasant day even nicer. Bobby Powers





HALF-DAY NO. H1102-453 June 19
Max Patch Loop 12:30 PM
Hike 5.5, Drive 104, 800 ft. ascent, Rated C-C
Nonmembers, call leader: Gail Lamb, 828-338-0443, galmb46@bellsouth.net
Awesome 360 degree panoramic views from summit of Max Patch make this a favorite hike. Second meeting place: Pilot Truck Stop off Exit 24 of I-40 at 1:00 PM. Topo: Lemon Gap

Cancelled because of rain and thunder

  Wednesday Hikes

WEDNESDAY NO. W1102-367 June 1
Art Loeb, Grassy Cove Ridge to Bridges Camp Gap 8:30 AM
Hike 8.5, Drive 65, 1650 ft. ascent, Rated B-A
Laura Frisbie, 828-337-5845, laurafrisbie@charter.net
P400, SB6K Beginning with a climb up to Black Balsam (6214 ft.) we’ll follow the ridgeline to Tennent Mtn (6040 ft.) and Ivestor Gap. Then we’ll hike down Grassy Cove Ridge to the Big East Fork of the Pigeon River. Two stream crossings, one or both of which may be wet. End at Bridges Camp Gap. Car shuttle. This is a Wilderness area hike limited to ten people; please contact hike leader to reserve your place. Second meeting place: BRP Cold Mountain Overlook at 9:10 AM. Topo: Shining Rock; also NatGeo map #780

WEDNESDAY NO. W1102-071 June 8
Turkey Pen – Squirrel Gap Loop *9:00 AM
Hike 9.2, Drive 50, 1500 ft. ascent, Rated A-B
Charlie Ferguson, 828-625-2677, cell: 828-778-2431, ccf108@gmail.com
P400 *Form carpools at Westgate, and meet leader at Boylston Baptist Church at 9:30 AM. From Turkey Pen trailhead, we will hike down to and across the S. Mills River, up to Mullinax Gap and then do a loop including Laurel Creek, Bradley Creek and Squirrel Gap Trails. Four wet stream crossings—wear water shoes. Topo: Pisgah Forest; also NatGeo map #780



Fourteen hikers went on this hike through the forest and streams along Bradley Creek and the South Mills River.  The shade of the forest was welcome as it was pretty warm for this time of year.  The trails are pretty evenly graded so there were no major uphills to get us overheated.  The Laurel Creek trail started along a pretty ridgeline with a lot of grass on the forest floor.  Bradley Creek had a lot of bothersome flies so we had lunch at a campsite a short distance back from. creek.  We waded through the creek 4 times and passed through 2 sunny and hot meadows.  The cool water was a relief for some of us. One person, without water shoes, with shorter legs, tried a cable crossing and needed assitance getting off.   In between two of the crossings we all heard a pretty loud sound like a locust but constant.  The hike leader couldn't tell where it was coming from. He and two other hikers continued on until someone yelled "RATTLESNAKE".  The fourth person, seeing the snake, backed up quickly.  A very well camouflaged 3-4 foot Timber Rattlesnake was about 6 inches off the trail in a patch of sun.  The first 3 hikers were very lucky that the snake was mor inclined to warn us rather than strike first.  A coperhead might have stricken out of spite and would have no way to warn us.

Part way up the Bradley Creek Trail we stopped at the junction with the Squirrel Gap Trail which we would take to complete the loop at it's junction with the Mullinax Trail.  The would have required a bit more climbing, so, since it was pretty warm, almost everyone wanted to take the mile shorter, mosty downhill route continuing on the Bradley Creek Trail to the river.  At the place where the trail normally crosses the river we turned right onto a no-name trail that continued alongside the river around to the bridge and then back up to our cars.


WEDNESDAY NO. W1102-566 June 15
The Roans *8:30 AM
Hike 7, Drive 130, 1000 ft. ascent, Rated B-B
Adrian Lotherington, 828-484-9132, jaloth@charter.net
SB6K *ONLY MEETING PLACE is Rose’s car park (opposite McDonald’s), off Exit 19B of I-26 in Weaverville. This in-and-out hike features great views. From Carver’s Gap we go over Jane Bald and Round Bald to Grassy Ridge Bald. With luck we will hit the Rhododendron bloom. If time allows we will drive to the gardens and walk ½ mile to see the view from Roan High bluff (small fee). Topo: Carvers Gap

WEDNESDAY NO. W1102-447 June 22
MST: Mt. Pisgah to Beaver Dam Overlook *9:00 AM
Hike 9, Drive 45, 1700 ft. ascent, Rated B-A
Bruce Bente, 828-692-0116, bbente@bellsouth.net
P400 *Form carpools at Westgate, and meet leader at BRP French Broad Overlook at 9:15 AM. This moderate hike will start with a round trip up and down Mt. Pisgah, and will then follow the MST eastbound to Beaver Dam Overlook. Expect good views along the route. Short car shuttle. Topos: Cruso, Dunsmore Mtn.; also NatGeo. map #780 & MST Profiles, pg. 53-55


Email your hike reports to Danny Bernstein. The deadline for reports is 9:00 p.m. on the Tuesdays before an eNews comes out. Reports for Wednesday hikes during the eNews publication week will appear in the following eNews--The Editor.

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All-day hikes submitted by Bruce Bente 692-0116, bbente@bellsouth.net . Driving distance is round-trip from Asheville. All Saturday and Sunday hikes assemble at Westgate Shopping Center near I-240 UNLESS OTHERWISE NOTED.

Half Day hikes submitted by Bonnie Allen, 828-645-0357, bonnie@allencats.com

Wednesday Hikes are submitted by Brenda Worley  clworley@bellsouth.com and Ann Gleason, 828-859-9387, gleason.ann@gmail.com .

The meeting place for each hike will be designated by the hike leader and appears in the hike description. Driving mileage is round trip, based on the first designated meeting place. Meet at Westgate unless otherwise noted.