Saturday, May 24, 2014

Art Loeb Trail: Section 1

Trail (Section) Length:  12.3 Miles, Difficult. We hiked a total of 15 miles (approximately), going past the Gloucester Gap and continuing up toward Pilot Mtn. before turning around and coming back to the gap. We split this section into an overnight trip:

Day 1: Davidson Trailhead to Butter Gap shelter (8.8 miles).
Day 2: Butter Gap shelter to Pilot Mtn. (approx 5 miles)

Trail Location: The Art Loeb Trail is a 30.1 mile trail located in Pisgah National Forest, and is divided into four sections. We started at the Davidson Campground parking area and headed west. The trailhead is located 0.2 miles south of the Pisgah District Ranger Station of of US 276, outside of Brevard.

Trail Description: The entire Art Loeb Trail is one one of the most difficult yet most popular trails in North Carolina. Each section of the trail offers a unique experience and gorgeous ridge-line views. Section one starts at the Davidson Campground trailhead and heads west, traversing over steep ups and downs over ridges. Views in this section are best seen during the winter when the trees are dormant offering spectacular views of Cedar Mountain and other nearby ridges.

Map Created By Rachel Albritton with data from the U.S. Forest Service & Google Earth

Monday, May 19, 2014

I'm Going on a Hike!

Oh my Godsh I'm going on a hike! You mean the PCT you ask? No! (Well yes, but that's not exactly what I mean at the moment). I mean I'm going on a hike this week! I've done nothing but day hikes in the last four years. FOUR YEARS. Pathetic. What makes this even more exciting? A new backpack...AND a new tent.

Friday, May 16, 2014

When One Door Closes...

Nearly three weeks ago I helped Cori pack up her first three mail drops for her Pacific Crest Trail (PCT) hike and shipped them, along with her gear, out to California. Two days later she faced one of her greatest fears, and got on a plane to San Diego, CA. By April 25, she was 1 of 75 people standing at the southern terminus of the Pacific Crest Trail (PCT).  That evening she was at Lake Morena celebrating ADZPCTKO (Annual Day Zero PCT Kickoff), feeling ever not so well, and after another two days of trying to overcome suspected jet lag she thankfully found herself back at the home of trail angel Betty Wheeler. An initial visit to urgent care revealed that she had contracted a virus and was instructed to take an additional 7-10 days of rest. At her rate of recovery, she would need at least another week off to recoupe, putting her back on the trail mid May. With a goal to finish by September first, this would mean hiking an average of roughly 25 miles/day with no days off. Doesn't sound like much fun. After three days of sleeping with no sign of recovering, and much discussion about the "right thing to do" she decided to come home, and try again next year. This decision later proved to be invaluable. Later visits and tests to the doctor revealed she had contracted a strain of the flu. She wound up needing a full two weeks of rest before feeling "normal" again.

Although seemingly unfortunate, this series of events has resulted in a new outlook for both of us. Next year, when Cori revisits the trail, I will be with her.

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Linville Falls: Basin Plunge & Gorge Trails

Trail Mileage: 1.8 miles total (Gorge Trail + Basin Plunge Trail Combined)

Trail Location: All of the Linville Falls trails can be reached from the Blue Ridge Parkway, mile post 316. From November - April when the parkway tends to be closed, the falls can be reached from an alternate parking area off of NC 183 that remains open year round, however, the forest service roads and parking lot are not plowed in the winter.  From the visitor center, the Gorge and Basin Plunge trails are to the left and are more difficult then the other set of trails that leaves from the visitor center and to the right (Upper Falls, Chimney View, and Erwin View trails).

When we arrived at the visitor center it was nearing the end of the day, and I was hungry for dinner so we kept our time at the falls fairly short, choosing to hike only the Gorge and Basin Plunge overlook trails. As we headed up the trail, the Gorge trail is just past the Duggers Creek loop entrance. We forked left and descended a steep 0.4 miles down to the river where we were rewarded with a river front view of the Falls. 

Crabtree Falls

Trail Mileage: 2.5 miles, loop trail
Elevation Gain: 627 ft.
Elevation Loss: 574 ft.

Location: Crabtree Falls is located off the Blue Ridge Parkway at milepost 339.5

Crabtree Falls Trail

Crabtree Fall Trail Profile