Hike Reports 12/3/29
WEDNESDAY NO. W1201-750 Feb. 29 Bartram Trail through the Fishhawk Mtns. *8:00 AM (Mountain Treasures Hike # 4) Hike 11.2, Drive 160, 800 ft. ascent, Rated B-C Jill Gottesman, cell: 828-545-5236, email@example.com. *Form carpools at Westgate, and meet leader at Bryson Food Store parking lot, off NC 106 in Highlands, at 9:30 AM. We will start at the Jones Gap Trailhead and hike north on the Bartram Trail to Doubletop fields, mostly along a ridgeline, returning via the same route. Highlights are the summits of Little Fishhawk Mountain and Wolf Rock, as well as clear winter views of the Cullasaja Valley, Whiterock Mountain, the Tessentee Valley, Scaly Mountain, Rabun Bald, and the Nantahala Mountains. Topo: Scaly Mtn.; also Bartram Trail Map Hike was canceled due to thunderstorms.
WEDNESDAY NO. W1201-674 Mar. 7 Wayah Bald to Tellico Gap 8:00 AM Hike 9.3 miles, Drive 190 miles, 1350 ft. ascent, Rated A-B Janet Martin, 502-494-9309, firstname.lastname@example.org LTC This hike along the AT begins at 5300 feet and proceeds north down to Burningtown Gap, then up to Copper Ridge Bald Trail, and then down again to reach Tellico Gap at 3800 feet. The trail traverses the heart of the Nantahala National Forest with distant vistas during the winter season. Car shuttle.
The weather was a pleasant surprise with moderate temperatures and no rain. The AT, as always, was in very good condition. Hikers encountered a maintenance crew at work, several thru AT hikers, and some hikers from Virginia completing a 50-miles loop on the Bartram Trail. Hike leader provided a bonus--four extra miles--which was prompted by a closed gate across the access road to Wayah Bald. My apologies to the intrepid hikers who took the additional miles in stride, actually a couple thousand extra strides. Janet Martin
WEDNESDAY NO. W1201-683 Mar. 14 Dupont Forest: Hooker Falls P.L. #2 - Five Falls Loop 8:30 AM Hike 11.2, Drive 95, 1250 ft. ascent, Rated A-B Danny Bernstein, 828-236-0192, email@example.com WC100 This hike takes in five outstanding waterfalls and two cemeteries. On the way, we'll climb to a ridge in the forest that gets fewer visitors. The waterfalls ought to be spectacular right now. Second meeting place: Bi-Lo in Pisgah Forest at 9:05 AM. Topo: Standingstone Mtn.; also DuPont State Forest Map.
Is it possible to write about Dupont Forest without showing pictures of its marvelous waterfalls?
Here's the group after having walked almost 11 miles. And they're still smiling.
We stopped at five waterfalls, two cemeteries and Imaging Lake. Yet I chose not to take any waterfall pictures. I don't think I'm blaze of their beauties but I noted other things.
Logging. Hikers have trouble accepting that Dupont Forest is a State Forest, not a state park. So logging is allowed. I don't think they clearcut but they log. And that's OK with me.
Danger signs. What they have borrowed from state parks are all the "danger signs". It's as if the waterfalls are going to grab a visitor and take them down. If you admire the waterfalls from the trail, it is not dangerous. Yet, I've seen international visitors take the sign literally and turn around from approaching the waterfall.
And what is this other picture?
For years, I've seen this piece of metal on Thomas Cemetery Road. Steve Pierce pointed out that it was part of a gate latch. There were some cables on the opposite tree. Good deduction.
Dupont Forest is always beautiful but it's more than waterfalls. Danny Bernstein Photos by Danny Bernstein
WEDNESDAY NO. W1201-629 Mar. 21 Rough Creek 9:00 AM Hike 7.5, Drive 55, 1800 Ft. ascent, Rated B-A Bruce Bente, 828-692-0116, firstname.lastname@example.org This is a rarely used trail in the Canton Watershed. During this loop hike, we walk uphill in the morning, largely on old roads, to a ridge line with long distance views. Shortly after we start down, we'll have lunch on rocks overlooking a beautiful valley. After lunch we return downhill, crossing Rough Creek on a bridge. Topo: Canton
WEDNESDAY NO. W1201-713 Mar. 28 Bent Creek Experimental Forest *8:30 AM Hike 6, Drive 20, 800 ft. ascent, Rated B-C Lenny Bernstein, 828-236-0192, email@example.com P400 Ever wonder what kind of research they do at Bent Creek? This is your chance to find out. We'll start with a one-to-two hour outdoor tour led by a member of the Forest Service staff and then take a short hike from Hard Times Trailhead.
----------Half Day Hikes----------
HALF-DAY NO. H1201-431 Feb. 26 Chestnut Cove to MST to Sleepy Gap to Explorer Trail *12:30 PM Hike 5, Drive 20, 900 ft. ascent, Rated C-C Nonmembers, call leader: Dick Zimmerer, 828-989-0480, firstname.lastname@example.org P400 *only meeting place: Ingles parking lot across from Biltmore Square Mall on NC 191. This loop hike begins with a moderately steep climb from the Bent Creek Gap Road to the MST, but is otherwise an easy walk. Topo: Dunsmore Mtn. Photos by Ted Connors HALF-DAY NO. H1201-686 Mar.4 Shope Creek Ramble *12:30 PM Hike 5, Drive 25, 750 ft. ascent, Rated C-C Nonmembers, call leader: Gail Lamb, 828-338-0443, email@example.com *Only meeting place: Folk Art Center back parking lot. This is a short ride for a winter walk in the woods, partly along Shope Creek in the Riceville Rd. area. It has been recently opened to hikers and has some unmarked trails, some of which are near, but not connecting to the Parkway. Possible wet stream crossing. Topo Map: Craggy Pinnacle Light snow and multiple stream crossings for this 5 mile ramble, made this hike a little different from, "possible stream crossings". Again, we were fortunate to have Tim Forrest, UNCA biology professor and researcher,let us in the gate and hike with us. Good news is that parking lot inside the gate has been completed by Forest Service and we may have been first to use it. However, gate was still locked because of a legal matter in its removal. Hike began with right fork and climb up ridge. Then we went down to a beautiful lunch spot next to Shopes Creek. We hiked up alongside the creek past a small waterfall and looped back to starting point. One hiker left after lunch and Tim walked her to the car. His fast hiking caught up with us. Some want to return and continue to explore this easily accessible area. Gail Lamb HALF-DAY NO. H1201-685 Mar. 11 North Slope Loop *12:30 PM Hike 5.3, Drive 65, 700 ft. ascent, Rated C-C Nonmembers, call leader: Stuart English, 828-883-2447, firstname.lastname@example.org. P400 *Form carpools at Westgate, and meet leader at the Pisgah Forest Bi-Lo at 1:00 PM. A short pleasant hike starts at the Pisgah Ranger Station, goes up the North Slope Ridge, and back along the Davidson River. We'll stop at the English Chapel for a bit. Topo: Pisgah Forest Sixteen hikers met for this pleasant winter hike near Davidson River Campground on a beautiful early spring day. About half of these hikers were new to the club which is as much a spring like harbinger of new growth as one is likely to find. We made our way through the campground, got on the North Slope Loop Trail, and climbed about half way up North Slope Ridge. From there it was a nice flat ridge walk viewing several coves of Tulip trees and crossing small branches of water coming off the side of the mountain. Then we made our way down once again to Davidson River, walked along it, visiting an old cemetery, the Ted Seeley Memorial, and English Chapel before we returned to our cars. Stuart English HALF-DAY NO. H1201-054 Mar. 18 John Rock 12:30 PM Hike 4, Drive 72, 900 ft. ascent, Rated C-C Nonmembers, call leader: Chris and Bonnie Allen, 828-645-0357, email@example.com P400 This hike goes up Old Horse Cove Trail to the top of John Rock. At the top there is a great view of Looking Glass Rock and the Fish Hatchery. Second meeting place: Fish Hatchery Parking lot off FS 475 at 1:10 PM. Topo: Shining Rock HALF-DAY NO. H1102-346 Mar. 25 Folk Art Center to Haw Creek Overlook *12:30 PM Hike 5, Drive15, 850 ft. ascent, Rated C-C Nonmembers, call leader: Jim Ariail, 828-505-0443, firstname.lastname@example.org. *Only meeting place: Folk Art Center back parking lot. This favorite moderate hike on the Mountains-to-Sea Trail is rewarded with great views of the Haw Creek Valley. Topo: Oteen
----------All Day Weekend Hikes----------
SATURDAY NO. A1201-747 Feb. 25
Rainbow Falls and Pretty Place *9:00 AM
Hike 8, Drive 95, 1800 ft. ascent, Rated B-A
Bev MacDowell, 828-684-1000, email@example.com
WC100 *Form carpools at Westgate, and meet leader at NE corner of parking lot
at Cracker Barrel at Exit 53 of I-26 at 9:30 AM, or Jones Gap State Park at 9:45
AM. This in-andf-out hike will stasrt at Jones Gap State Park (NOTE: $2 entry fee per
person), we'll hike up to beautiful Rainbow Falls, continue on a steep, rope-assisted trail
up to the ridgeline and over to Pretty Place for lunch. With luck, we'll enjoy the snow
piles that form at the base of Rainbow Falls in wintertime. Topos: Cleveland,
Standingstone Mtn.; also Mountain Bridge Wilderness map
The hike this past Saturday was composed of only 4 walkers. (We had good competition with a popular Sunday hike!) None the less, it was sunny skies and beautiful with some wind. The description published in Let's Go seems approximately right....close. I didn't hike with GPS, so perhaps not exact. Bev MacDowell
SUNDAY NO. A1201-502 Feb. 26
Deep Creek – Sunkota Ridge 8:00 AM
Hike 13, Drive 135, 2000 ft. ascent, Rated AA-A
Janet Martin, 502-494-9309, firstname.lastname@example.org
900M We will hike alongside Deep Creek, one of the beautiful streams on the east side
of the Smokies, and then climb up to and then down Sunkota Ridge, which will have
good winter views. Second meeting place: Rest area beyond Waynesville on US 23/74
at 8:30 AM. Topos: Bryson City, Clingman's Dome; also NatGeo map #317
A marvelously sunny day for hiking. Check out these smiles. Janet Martin
SUNDAY NO. A1201-748 March 4
Mt. Sterling from Cataloochee 8:00 AM
Hike 12, Drive 100, 3500 ft. ascent, Rated A-AA+
Mike Knies, 828-628-6712, email@example.com
900M, LTC Learn about the history of the early settlers of Cataloochee on this new hike
which begins from old NC 284 and follows old roads, along Correll and Dude Barnches
and Long Bunk Trail to reach the summit of Mt. Sterling and the spectacular views from
the fire tower. We'll stop to briefly explore 7-8 old home sites, spring houses and maybe
a cemetery along the way and will return on the access road to Mt. Sterling Gap. Short
car shuttle. Second meeting place: Exxon station on US 276 off Exit 20 of I-40. Topo:
Cove Creek Gap; also NatGeo map #317
Twelve hardy souls gathered to take this unusual hike combining a great view
from Mt. Sterling and off trail cultural exploration. The forecast was
partly cloudy and high 40's. I reversed the route to get the climb out of
the way first. We could clearly see the tower as we dropped the shuttle
vehicle at Little Cataloochee TH. When we got to MSG TH it was snowing, 34
degrees, the wind was blowing at least 15 mph and visibility was limited.
The sun poked through just as we reached the summit for about two minutes
and that was the last we saw of it all day. At least the climb kept us
We headed a short way down Long Bunk and then went off trail following old
roads, paths and just walking through open forests. We had a number of rock
hop stream crossings through the day made more interesting from the heavy
rain on Friday. As we investigated many home site belonging to the Hannah
and Hall families among others we discussed many of the elements of what
life was like farming difficult terrain in remote locations, bring up large
families in small homes without running water or electricity. While the
buildings are gone there are many remains including chimney falls, rocked in
springs, stone walls, and broken glassware and rusted pots and pans left
We stopped for a few moments at the Hannah Cemetery. While the shuttle
drivers went for the cars, I took the rest for a short side trip to the
Hannah Cabin that is one of the few remaining structures in Cataloochee. It
is notable for its all brick chimney, spring, and a few remaining apple
It was a trek with diverse features made more interesting by the weather.
But part of being in the woods is being prepared for whatever Mother Nature
presents. By the time we got to exit 27 on I-40 the sun was shining on the
end of another great day in the woods. Michael Knies
SUNDAY NO. A1201-479 March 4
Kagle Mtn. *8:30 AM
Hike 9, 1100 ft. ascent, Drive 80, Rated B-B
Charlie Ferguson, 828-625-2677 (cell: 828-778-2431), firstname.lastname@example.org
P400 *Form carpools at Westgate, and meet leader at Pisgah Forest Bi-Lo at 9:05
AM. This loop hike will start from Cathey's Creek Rd. and follow an overgrown forest
road to the Art Loeb Trail, with lunch at the Butter Gap shelter. We'll return via a no-
name trail for variety. Nice views. Topos: Rosman, Shining Rock; also NatGeo map
SUNDAY NO. A1201-142 Mar. 11
Jerry Miller Trail to AT to Fork Ridge Trail *8:30 AM
Hike 10.5, Drive 92, 3300 ft. ascent, Rated A-AA+
Tish Desjardins, cell: 828-380-1452, email@example.com
NOTE that this is the first day of daylight savings time. *Form carpools at
Westgate, and meet leader at US 25/NC 208 intersection at 9:15 AM. After the hike
there will be a potluck supper in the nearby Bear River Community Lodge. Hikers
are requested to contribute food for the supper. Food will be taken to a refrigerator
before the hike. Please phone the leader to coordinate what food to bring. We'll hike
up the Jerry Miller Trail to Bearwallow Gap and right on the AT to Andrew Johnson
Mountain. Right on the Fork Ridge Trail down to FS 111 and a short walk to the cars.
Topo: Greystone; also NatGeo map #782
A gorgeous sunny day prevailed on this 10.5 mile hike. Five of us did this hike and enjoyed the clear, far-away views of the Roans, Craggys and the Blacks from the top of Firescald Knob, our lunch spot. Ten others did a non-CMC hike that was shorter and non-strenuous and soaked in the Hot Springs tubs during the afternoon and joined us at the delicious potluck supper afterward.
We started the hike at 9:45 AM and finished at 4:15 PM Tish Desjardins
Photo by John Sanders
SATURDAY NO. A1201-691 March 17
Upper Whitewater Falls – Round Mtn. Gap 9:30 AM
Hike 7, Drive 120, 1000 ft. ascent, Rated B-B
Marcia Bromberg, 828-505-0471, firstname.lastname@example.org
WC100 We will follow the Foothills Trail west from the NC 281 parking lot to Round
Mtn. Gap, then follow the Round Mtn. trail back to the Whitewater Falls overlook. From
here we will drop steeply on the Foothills Trail east, cross the Whitewater River bridge
and later turn uphill on a short spur trail to the Bad Creek parking area. Short car shuttle.
Second meeting place: Pisgah Forest Bi-Lo at 10:05 AM. Topos: Cashier, Reid; also
NatGeo map #785
Nobody showed up so the hike leader hiked by herself in the Pisgah Nat'l Forest.
SUNDAY NO. A1201-516 March 18
Lakeshore Loop 8:30 AM
Hike 10, Drive 145, 1600 ft. ascent, Rated A-A
Danny Bernstein, 828-236-0192, email@example.com
900M Starting at the Lakeshore tunnel, we'll do a loop, consisting of the Lakeshore,
White Oak Branch and Forney Creek Trails. We'll lunch on Forney Creek, and then
return on the Lakeshore Trail and back on the bypass trail. We'll take a side trail to the
Woody Cemetery. We are honored to have Kevin Fitzgerald, Deputy Superintendent of
Great Smoky Mountains National Park hike with us. He's a great source of information
on the Park. Second meeting place: Rest area beyond Waynesville on US 23/74 at
9:00 AM. Topo: Noland Creek; also NatGeo maps #316, #229
It was a summer-like day at the entrance of the Lakeshore Tunnel outside of Bryson City on Sunday morning. Rain may have scared some hikers away but 14 hikers, including 3 guests, gathered to start a lovely hike on various trails in the "Road to Nowhere" section.
We were so privileged to have Kevin Fitzgerald, Deputy Superintendent of Great Smoky Mountains National Park, hike with us. He gave the history of the North Shore Road saga, talked about Decoration Days, the backcountry fee, and answered questions as we stopped at different points.
We saw trailing arbutus and some violets but the attraction is Forney Creek and the Woody Cemetery. This is one of my favorite late winter hikes,though on Sunday, it was more like beginning of summer.
SUNDAY NO. A1201-692 March 25
Terrapin and Bearpen Mtns. *9:00 AM
(Mountain Treasures hike #5)
Hike 6+, Drive 140, 2400 ft. ascent, Rated B-AA
Ted Snyder, 864-638-3686, firstname.lastname@example.org
*Form carpools at Westgate; stop at Pisgah Forest Bi-Lo at 9:35 AM for additional
hikers; and meet leader at Community Bank in Cashiers (left onto NC 107, right at
next red light and go 100 yards) at 10:30 AM. This revised hike first ascends steeply
through thick underbrush, then up a steeper rock face. Get 180 degree views including
Whiteside Mtn. and Fowler Creek cirque. Leaving the rock, ascend gently to the top of
Terrapin, then bushwhack west and south to a gap, from which we climb Bearpen Mtn.
Hikers with fear of heights should consult the hike leader before attempting this hike. Please contact Ted Snyder for more information.
Eight hikers, including the leader, took this trip. No one came from Asheville. One person from out of town, arriving at Westgate and finding no one, assumed the group had left without him and returned home. Two hikers waiting for the Asheville contingent at the Bi-Lo in Pisgah Forest gave up when no one from Asheville showed, came on independently and made the trip.
Our route followed the usual course with the bushwhacking commencing at the rock pile with the engraved inscription “Hog Hunter Stand.” Although the rock on the first line of bluffs was wet, we managed to chimney the cleft and gain the upper woods.
At the usual location where the route debouches onto the open rock face we found the resident rattlesnake who guards the passage. Over the years this animal has grown, and is now big and healthy. It appeared to have about eight rattles. One member of the party remarked that it was the biggest rattler he had ever seen.
Bypassing the gate guard we straggled up the open face of Terrapin, pausing frequently to identify peaks in view.
The lunch spot was reached at 12:45 p.m. After lunch we worked around to the west for views of Rabun Bald, Fodderstack, Horse Cove, Blackrock, and Whiteside. The upper rocks were wet and we could not get safely as far around as usual.
Then out route took us over the summit of Terrapin. Two members had asked the leader if he had ever seen the crashed airplane on the west side. They had read about it in the Cashiers newspaper. He did not know about it. As we bushwhacked north on the ridge, we did indeed find the wreckage.
Leaving the site we had a serious scramble through dense underbrush to regain our route on the ridge. Soon we were at the gap where grows the big oak, estimated to be five feet in diameter. The party waived an excursion here onto another accessible rock face. So, we descended sharply through a rhododendron tangle and then in open woods to a gap where the ascent of Bearpen Mountain begins.
At this gap, sitting on the log provided by nature for hikers, we conferred and due to the lateness of the hour, decided to climb Bearpen on another day. We walked down to Scotsman Branch, and then out on old road beds. This put us back at the cars at 4:45 p.m.
The weather, contrary to the prediction, was near perfect. Sunshine prevailed until the last half hour. Temperature was about 60 F. Wind, blowing fiercely at Cashiers at the meeting place while we met, died away to nothing. Visibility was about thirty miles.
Early spring flowers were Halberd-leaved violets, Birdsfoot violets, Trailing Arbutus, and Blood Root. Horse Mint was just thrusting up through the duff, as were May Apples.
One person summed up the trip: “I did not know the meaning of “bushwhack” until today.” The group liked the new definition.