Another great trip out to the wilderness! On this day, the pup and I took a few friends out to explore the Linville Falls and Gorge. What I love about this area, there's tons to see and places to explore. Using the Blue Ridge Parkway and Memorial Highway as a driving loop provides awesome views of the gorge, Hawksbill, Tablerock and The Chimneys as well as multiple trail heads down to the gorge and vistas to gaze upon the beauty from. Plus, there are about a dozen car camping spots along Memorial Highway. A highly recommended trip, the Linville Falls and Gorge is one of North Carolina's best hiking environments and a must see for all good explorers in the area!
Hike Date: January 29, 2014
Route: Greybeard Trail
Type: Out and Back
Distance: Approx. 6 miles
Conditions: 3 inches of snow
Near: Black Mountain, NC
So, you've made it to Vermont...the end is near but still so far away...the last 3 states are some of the best hiking on the trail and full of adventure...the trail towns in this area are different from what you've seen and the weather begins to cool...this is a great time to be on the trail! take your time, stay in the moment and appreciate the trail...
Alright, let's hit Vermont!
If you make it to Harpers Ferry, WV, you've done something pretty exceptional...and that should be celebrated...take a night, enjoy Harpers Ferry, then hit the trail! And enjoy...by now, summer weather has kicked in and it's hot...real hot...you'll be hiking early in the morning and later in the evening, your pack will be super light and the towns become more frequent...also, you'll see tons of berries...blueberries, blackberries, cherries, mulberries, wineberries, strawberries...it's a fantastic time to be on the trail...
Before we move on to the next section, i need to add one more thing to the last section...at Mile 496.9, take the Wilburn Ridge Trail...it parallels the A.T. for about a mile, but takes you up and over some awesome rocks with fantastic views...definitely check out this trail...
And with that, let's hit Maryland...
(This is a lot of fun to do...)
By this point, you'll have reached Damascus, VA, one of the best towns on the trail...Damascus is a milestone on the trail, the quarter way point...by now, you'll have strong legs and a great feel for what the trail is like...you'll have seen a lot, but the next challenge you face isn't physical...it's mental...my piece of advice for that is this: EVERYONE goes through it...the trail is hard...fight through it, the trail experience is worth it...what you have seen in GA, NC and TN are nothing like what you'll see anywhere else...what i did/do when the trail blahs hit, i hit the nearest town, get some beer and pizza, take a shower and relax...one day, two days, heck three days...the cost of a hotel or two is far less than a bus trip home and the inevitable regret of being off the trail and away from your new hiker friends...as long as money isn't the issue, stay on the trail!
Anyway, here we go:
So, i've always wanted to do this...take the guidebook and make recommendations for hikers as far as places to stay, see, visit, enjoy, and experience...the guidebook is great for all the trail's details, but hopefully i can fill in a little color on what you are about to go thru...
There are many things i didn't highlight, like waterfalls for example...i just assume any waterfall that's less than .5 miles from the trail is mandatory for viewing...these are just my recommendations from my experiences on the trail...the trail is about creating an adventure, so take this knowledge and go create your own!
So here we go:
Mile -8.8 The Approach Trail - I always recommend doing the Approach Trail...while it will be one of the hardest sections of the trip, Amicalola Falls State Park is beautiful and a great place to have your family drop you off and get a feel for the Southern Appalachia...also, the waterfall (and the steps going up it) are breathtaking...if you do the Approach Trail, Black Mountain Shelter is a good day's ending point...
Mount Mitchell is one of my favorite places to go and explore. With the highest elevation in the East, the lookout tower provides some extraordinary views of the surrounding area that spans four states. Located right off the Blue Ridge Parkway, it's a popular tourist destination with a parking lot located a mere half mile from the summit.
This tower was once located on top of Little Snowball Mountain, but has since been deconstructed and rebuilt in Big Ivy, NC. It's the only tower that doesn't require a hike (it's in the middle of the community park) for completion of the Lookout Tower Challenge. If you are interested in seeing this little guy, google map Big Ivy Community Center and it's right there. I drove past it on a few adventures not even realizing it was right there.
Tower number 17 of 24 for me!
Welcome to my little corner of A Trail Life where I do gear reviews, share trail descriptions & photos and give Appalachian Trail advice. I live in the Southeast, so that's where i do most of my hiking. If ya have any questions, feel free to contact me. I love talkin' the outdoors! Thanks for stopping by!