Monday, August 14, 2017

Mountains-To-Sea Trail: New Miles For Me - Heintooga Road to Big Fork Overlook

MST – Heintooga Road to Big Fork Overlook – 10/16/16 – 9 Miles

It had been too long since I’d hiked with my good friend Danny Bernstein, so when the invitation came last October to join a Carolina Mountain Club hike that she was leading on a new section of the Mountains-To-Sea Trail, I canceled everything else in life so I could be up front and center.  The crisp clear fall day made it even more spectacular and there’s no place I’d rather be.

Back in 2010 this section of the MST was all pavement. Thanks to years of work by CMC trail builders, today we walked 9 miles on footpath.  You can’t put a price on the amount of hours, sweat equity and trail love that went into those miles. 

The group shuttled cars for our one-way hike starting from Heintooga Road, a spur of the Blue Ridge Parkway.  A few hundred feet from the intersection of Heintooga and the BRP, a dirt road leads to the trail and the westernmost white MST blaze to get us started. 

Instead of crossing the BRP, we passed under it. Someone has been here ahead of us

At about 2.5 miles we reached Highway 19 at its intersection with the BRP

Crossing the Blue Ridge Parkway

After crossing both, we melted back into the woods. The next four miles passed through a tunnel of glorious fall colors featuring trail builders’ handiwork of bridges, stone steps and resting benches

Howard (McDonald’s) Bridge

Stone work

The MST intersects with the paved trail to Waterrock Knob Overlook.  We skipped the summit and stayed to the right to descend to the parking area to take advantage of the vault toilets and enjoy lunch with a long range view.  

The last 2.2 miles of this new section of the MST descends to Big Fork Overlook on the Parkway.  The color show continued, one of the best fall days I have ever experienced, reds and oranges and yellows overhead, underfoot and across the waves of mountains. 

 After the hike, Danny and I returned to Asheville.  Over a delicious sushi meal we talked about her husband, Lenny, who had recently passed away.  Life is forever altered for Danny; she cherishes her memories, her family and her friends, and she continues on as her husband would approve. I slept the sleep of contented tiredness in “my room” in Danny’s home, and early the next morning I returned to Charlotte.  I am grateful for this friendship, experiences past and those to come.

“Too much of a good thing can be wonderful!”  ~Mae West


Nancy said...

This section of the MST is one of my favorites for a quick day hike close to home, now that it's finished (I actually make it an out-and-back from Soco and turn around at Waterrock). I love it in all seasons and this post has me itching for some fall color on our trees!

Just catching up on some your posts (I've been slowly but surely moving my blog to WordPress, so I don't check in with Blogger as much these days, but need to be more diligent about it, simply because I love your posts (by chance do you have an email subscription link somewhere that I'm missing, so I can get new posts that way?)! I can't wait to read your posts about Tour De Mont Blanc--SO high on my list!

Oh, my family went to Death Valley this spring, and I used your blog for ideas for hikes while we were there, so thank you! :-)

smoky scout said...

Hi Nancy - I don't have an email list but I would be glad to be in touch with you via email whenever I put up a new post. As you know, I am inconsistent but ever optimistic that I will eventually get everything done! My email is (Yes, a dinosaur still at aol.)

I went with hiking friends to Patagonia for two weeks in February 2017. It was such an overwhelming trip that I haven't even gone thru the photos yet. But the Tour du Mont Blanc so far is the best thing I've ever done, especially because the hubby was with me and we had a grand adventure.

I'll look for you at WordPress. Take care!!