Saturday, August 14, 2010

Look Before You Duck

MST – Day 28 – 6/24/10 – Black Mountain Campground to Hwy 80 – 7.8 miles

Our easiest start yet with zero commute time, walking out of the campground. Within the first mile we passed an area of old building founda- tions. A woman camping there (actually looked like she lived out of her car) explained that it was the site of the first fish hatchery in NC built by the CCC. According to her, the buildings we were impressed with were the workers’ bathrooms.

A turn left took us into the woods and we began a steady, nicely switchbacked climb up to the Parkway. We were smitten with this trail, having lowered our expecta- tions now that we were out of the CMC’s trail mainte- nance jurisdiction. Then we hit a bad patch – a half-mile of precarious bushwhacking through numerous downed trees obliterating the trail. Then we were all clear again. Apparently two maintenance crews (or the same crew coming from each end?) had worked up to a certain point and then called it off for the bigger equipment. One of the blowdowns looks to me like it needs a reroute and it’s on a steep slope. But all in all, a good section of trail.

Steps were cut in this tree trunk with a hatchet

Impressive fungus

Highlight of the day: Pipsissewa, a bloom I have only seen in flower ID books.

Lowlight of the day: while leaning forward to duck under a tree branch, I received a full spiderweb facial (pause for yucky stomach lurch).

We crossed the Blue Ridge Parkway a couple of times, and on one occasion got a little confounded and could not find the trail on the other side. The written instructions from Scot Ward’s book were a bit ambiguous so we interpreted that we should walk on the road for a half-mile to the Singecat Ridge Overlook, where we knew the trail picked up again. But at the overlook we looked backwards and saw the trail we had missed. Danny was okay with our road walk because the trail truly was lost to us at that point, but I had a nagging feeling that since we had found the trail we should go back and walk it. But can we do this every time? We will probably run into this problem again, especially on the road. I let it go for now…but I may go back and walk that section sometime when I’m close to it again.

Danny is chillin' before the long drive home - read her story of the day here.

We finished our short section today around 11:00 a.m. Our ending point at Hwy 80 connected us to the Woods Mountain section that we had done with CMC on my birthday. Now I have completed nearly 330 miles of the MST – next up, approaching the wild and crazy Linville Gorge.  

There's never enough time to do all the nothing you want. ~Bill Watterson, Calvin and Hobbes

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