Read Danny's story of our hike here.
“B” couldn’t hike with us today but instead shuttled us to our starting point, after giving us a tour of some of his projects in Wilkesboro, including his beloved Wilkes Community College campus.
Walking today was a new leap of faith with no map or trail description or "B" on this brand new section of the MST, just hopes that white blazes are plentiful (they were). As a reward for toughing it out in yesterday’s rain, today offered an intense blue sky, but a mighty wind was blowing that kept us chilled. I had a very hard time getting comfortable, frequently adjusting layers. It took me half the day to get the right combination. My rain jacket was necessary against the cold wind, but out of the wind it was hot and sticky. I finally got it down to a short-sleeved shirt and rain jacket, and for the remainder of the hike my hat and gloves were constantly on and off to regulate my comfort level, easy enough to do while moving.
Within E.B. Jeffress Park we took a short side trail to a delightful waterfall called the Cascades, definitely worth the few minutes out of the way. Remember, part of what makes the MST special is the way it strings together many of North Carolina’s natural jewels.
More of what makes the MST so special: churches and cemeteries, some preserved in the parks and others still active parts of their communities.
Cool Springs Baptist Church
The final resting place for members of Blue Ridge Baptist Church
We crossed the parkway multiple times today too, walked along fences and pastures. Once we startled some cows with horns and long shaggy light brown coats – sorry, no photos, they were too quick.
At one point we got onto the Parkway for a while looking for a re-entry into the woods. We stopped for a snack break and I went back behind some trees for a trail break, where I noticed a nice looking trail and it happened to have white circles on it. We had missed the entry back into the woods. By now there is no heartburn about literally taking every step on the trail, so we didn’t backtrack to look for our mistake, just kept going.
Surprised at how tired my legs were today. For being out of the “big mountains” we sure seemed to walk uphill a lot. Maybe it was going up and over the many stiles?
From the Mount Jefferson Overlook we spotted Table Rock and Hawksbill, old friends. I continue to be amazed when we are able to discern these landmarks on the horizon, kinda like seeing Half Dome from different viewpoints in Yosemite – well, okay, maybe not as big, but just as cool.
“B” left us a surprise along the trail - two large rocks stacked and tied with ribbon and a note to “Danny and Sharon.” After he dropped us off he had hiked in and placed it there to remind us to go off trail to the right, across the Parkway and up on “the Lump,” a bald from which we could see Pilot Mountain and Stone Mountain. With such effort on his part, we followed instructions to check out the Lump. It would be hard to match “B’s” enthusiasm for all this trail has to offer.
We had a long drive back to “B’s” house and I was feeling the fatigue set in. “B” had plans to meet us for another short hike to a favorite spot of his near his home, but I did not think my legs would take me up another mountain. I begged off and Danny went with him.
I went back to “B’s” house, had a long hot shower, and wandered downstairs to the kitchen to chat with his wife, Martha. She poured me a glass of red wine and I nearly melted right off the barstool. No words necessary.
"You're in pretty good shape for the shape you are in.” ~ Dr. Seuss