Hike Reports 12/2/20 All Day Weekend

----------All Day Weekend Hikes----------


SATURDAY NO. A1201-679    Jan. 28
Elk Pasture Gap - Mt. Pisgah via MST    10:00 AM
Hike 7, 2200 ft. ascent, Drive 45, Rated B-AA
Paul Dickens, 828-476-0010, psdicken@charter.net
P400  We will hike the MST from the NC 151 / BRP junction to Buck Springs Gap, then
up to the summit of Mt. Pisgah. Great views from Mt. Pisgah and from Little Pisgah
Mountain if clear weather. Our return will be on the Blue Ridge Parkway if closed. Pack
for wind and cold. Trip is dependent on weather and ability to reach the top of NC 151 by
car.  Topo: Dunsmore Mtn.; also NatGeo map #780

    Some may think that Mt. Pisgah is just a tourist hike and not a trip worthy of a CMC outing.  I disagree. Mt. Pisgah is a big mountain and a serious hike if approached along the Mountains-to-Sea Trail (MST) from Elk Pasture Gap or below.  It is also an interesting and challenging hike in winter with great views.  For the past few years, I have led a winter CMC hike up to Mt. Pisgah, and each year the hike has been different.  On Saturday 28 Jan 2012, I and a group of 10 club members and guests ascended Mt. Pisgah starting from the Big Ridge Overlook at Blue Ridge Parkway (BRP) mile post 403.8 - a vertical climb of more than 2000 feet in a distance of about 6 miles.  The route we hiked is on pages 42 and 43 of the 2009 MST Trail Profiles and Maps book prepared by Walt Weber for the CMC. 

    It was a great day - started sunny and clear with temperatures in the 40s.  Clouds rolled in as the day went by, but panoramic views on top remained quite good.  The original plan was to start at Elk Pasture Gap (Hwy 151 and the BRP), hike up the MST over Little Pisgah Mountain, continue to the top of Mt Pisgah and then return down the closed Parkway back to Elk Pasture Gap.  However, due to mild winter weather, the Parkway was open which precluded walking back down the road and through tunnels.  We changed the hike and added a short car shuttle.  The group agreed to start lower and ascend the MST over Little Pisgah Mountain and then to the Pisgah Inn with side trip to the top of Mt. Pisgah, total distance of about 8.7 miles.  Along the MST approach, the flanks of both mountains – Little Pisgah and Mt Pisgah – were visible high above through the winter trees and provided a sense of scale for the climb ahead.  On top, looking down way below to where the hike had started gave a real sense of accomplishment to the group.  This is no tourist hike.  We climbed a big mountain complex and came to appreciate how large it really is.   Paul Dickens


Photos by Ted Connors

SUNDAY NO. A1201-744    Jan. 29
Silver Mine-AT- Runion     *8:30 AM
Hike 8.5, Drive 70, 2600 ft. ascent, Rated B-AA
Paul Benson, 828-251-1909, pdbenson@charter.net
Starting where Silver Mine Branch flows into the French Broad, we'll hike the AT up
Lovers Leap Ridge to Pump Gap where we will turn down the Pump Gap Trail and a
manway connecting to the French Broad River near where the Laurel River comes in. We
then hike up the Laurel Creek Trail to our lunch spot at the old ruins in Runion. We'll
backtrack up the manway and the Pump Gap Trail to Pump Gap where we'll continue
down the Pump Gap Trail to Silvermine Creek and follow it back to the trailhead. This
hike offers an interesting mix of ridgeline and lush streamside forest hiking. *After the
hike, we will enjoy the hot tubs in Hot Springs. Call/e-mail the leader by Wednesday,
January 25 to be included in the hot tub reservation. Topo: Hot Springs; also Nat Geo
map #782

A group of 19 showed up on a sunny cold morning and enjoyed warming temps and an interesting hike to the ghost town of Ruion.  We enjoyed a brisk climb up Lover's Leap, then headed down the Pump Gap Trail to enjoy a warm, sunny lunch spot at the confluence of Big Laurel Creek and the French Broad River.  The group then became restless to explore so we headed to Runion where the leader relayed information just obtained by reading the book: "Stackhouses of Appalachia".  We looked at the old commissary stronghouse - the only surviving structure, and found the base of the old flagpole where the inscription "1917 Let Freedom Ring" is still plainly visible.  After a brisk walk out along the scenic Big Laurel Trail most of the group (14) headed to the hot springs for a relaxing soak.  All in all a very memorable day!  Paul

SUNDAY NO. A1201-745    Feb. 5
Little Snowbird Creek
(Mountain Treasures hike #3)    *8:00 AM
Hike 11, Drive 200, 1400 ft. ascent, Rated A-B
Brent Martin, 828-587-9453 (cell: 828-371-0347), brent_martin@tws.org
WC100  *Form carpools at Westgate, and meet leader at Wendy's in Robbinsville at
10:00 AM. This hike will be in the Snowbird Wilderness Study area, as recognized by
the 1984 N.C. Wilderness Act. This will be an in-and-out on Snowbird Creek Trail,
featuring Middle and Upper Falls.  Topo: McDaniel Bald; also NatGeo map #784

SUNDAY NO. A1201-209    Feb. 5
Buckwheat Knob – Coontree Loop    10:00 AM
Hike 8, Drive 67, 1900 ft. ascent, Rated B-A
Laura Frisbie, 828-337-5845, laurafrisbie@charter.net
P400  From the trailhead at Coontree Picnic area, we'll climb along beautiful Coontree
Creek through open forest up to Bennett Gap and on to Buckwheat Knob for lunch, then
return via the other segment of the Coontree loop. A moderate woodland hike with
exceptional views from the ridgeline.  Second meeting place: Coontree Picnic area at
10:40 AM.  Topo: Shining Rock; also NatGeo. map #780

SATURDAY NO. A1201-746    Feb. 11
Bearwallow Mtn. & Little Bearwallow Cliffs    *10:00 AM
Hike 5.5 mi., Drive 70, 1040 ft. ascent, Rated C-B
Peter Barr, 704-941-9296, peter@carolinamountain.org
*Form carpools at Westgate, and meet leader at Florence Preserve parking area
(next to old chimney) on US 74-A in Gerton. This will be a joint hike with Carolina
Mtn. Land Conservency (CMLC). Hike on a scenic mountain conserved by CMLC via a
brand-new trail built by CMC. We'll climb to the top of Bearwallow Mountain, a grassy
bald with panoramic views, then descend to the "bearwallow" itself on rough trail.
Expect cold and windy conditiojns on the summit. After climbing up Little Bearwallow,
we'll drop steeply into the Upper Hickory Nut Gorge, paralleling cliff walls. Our descent
includes two waterfalls, views from Wildcat Rock, and old growth forest. We finish on
US 74-A in Gerton. The latter part of the hike goes through private land with owner
permission. Additional meeting place: across from Atlanta Bread Co. off US 64 in
Hendersonville at 9:40 AM. Car shuttle.  Topo: Bat Cave

SUNDAY NO. A1201-596    Feb. 12
Foothills Trail: Laurel Fork Gap to Lake Jocassee    *8:00 AM
Hike 10.8, Drive 103, 1400 ft. ascent, Rated A-B
Michael and Kathy Cornn, 828-458-1281, mcornn@aol.com
*Form carpools at Westgate, and meet leaders at Bi-Lo in Pisgah Forest at 8:35 AM.
We'll hike the Foothills Trail in SC, from Laurel Fork Gap to Lake Jocassee. This in-and-
out hike along Laurel Fork Creek features a beautiful stream, waterfalls, great bridges,
and a scenic lakeside lunch spot.  Topos: Eastatoe Gap, Reid; also Foothills Trail map

Nine hikers were not deterred by cold weather, and they were rewarded with little wind and warmer temperatures than predicted. The hike on the Foothills trail to Lake Jocassee started with Rhododendron leaves closed tight at the beginning of the hike, but by mid day they were open, and blooming violets were spotted after lunch. Hikers crossed about 20 bridges and saw two waterfalls. The group unexpectedly met two Greenville,SC hikers who have hiked with the  CMC. They had camped the night before, and had heard trees falling during the night. There were no trees down on the trail, but there was severe damage on one hillside from feral hogs rooting for food. According to the Jocassee Journal, feral hog sign has quadrupled in the area in recent years.


SUNDAY NO. A1201-307    Feb. 19
MST around Asheville – West Portion    9:00 AM
Hike 10.7, Drive 15, 1450 ft. ascent, Rated A-B
Becky Smucker, cell: 828-231-2198, bjsmucker@gmail.com
We will hike on the MST around Asheville, a pleasant MST section that is often
overlooked. We'll hike from the Blue Ridge Parkway Destination Center to French Broad
Overlook. Car shuttle. Topo: Asheville