May 13, 2014

Linville Gorge May 10-11 2014

Met up with my good pals Loki and RF at the official restaurant of the Gorge Rats. As an added bonus Artie from the Jolly Rovers Trail Crew out of New York was with them. I met Artie a couple months back doing trail work at Bat Cave. He had returned to help out with some more trail work at Hickory Nut Gorge and decided to stay the weekend to take in some of the southeast finest wilderness

After a nice dinner a Louise's Famous Rock house, we journeyed back to Hawksbill Trail head were the fellas were camped for the weekend. Being this Artie's first trip to the gorge Loki and RF had been trying to get him around to the most popular sites around the gorge. At this point Artie and I decided to hike up Hawksbill to take in the views and the sunset. Hawksbill did not disappoint. We had a great time taking in the views 

We returned to camp and enjoyed the fellowship with Loki and RF around a small fire before retiring for the evening after a couple hours.

Sunday morning started off with a traditional breakfast at Louise's. We then returned to Hawksbill, broke camp and prepped to do a short hike for the day. Met Justin, who was up to do a photo shoot with some climbers. Had a nice conversation with him. Our friend Kayah showed up around 11 am to do some climbing with her friend Nick. We decided we'd hike up to Ledge trail and venture down to see if we could watch them climb. We did not venture far down Ledge before turning back as our pal Artie needed to get back headed north around three. Although not a long hike. It was really great for me as we visited George's point which has great sentimental value to me, as well as a hell of a view...

We took a break at Ledge camp for some hammock time at a snack. I must say, I enjoyed the view from the hammock...

A little goofing off....

Back at the trail head....

A nice gorge tat....

GPS track of the hike overlaid in google earth looking North to South...

Linville Gorge April 25-27

Arrived a Sitting Bear parking around 5:30 PM Friday . Made the short hike up to the "saddle" along Jonas ridge. Here I found Loki, Running Feather, and Hangin' Burrito. The winds were absolutely howling and it took the assistance of my com padres to get my hammock set up rather than sail away in the vortex of shifting gust. We hunkered Down huddled under Loki's tarp to avoid the gust as best we could.
There would be no camp fire that night

Saturday we woke to much better weather. Of course we went to Louise's for breakfast before we our morning hike up Sitting Bear.

The hike up Sitting bear started off easy enough but we would find that it becomes increasingly steep as you climb towards the summit.

After a stop at the "sitting Bear,"
we made the final push to the summit of the mountain. Once at the Top we stopped at a nice camping area with some great views to have a snack and catch our breath. We saw and conversed with a few fellow hikers, all of which were quite drained from the hike to the top.

We decided not to go back the way we camp opting instead to hike Jonas Ridge to Halfway Trail and road walk back to Sitting Bear parking. A pretty walk along the ridge led us to the Halfway Trail. It's a pretty good decent along this trail and steep in spots but no where near as bad as the Sitting Bear trail is.

As we were making our way up the road, our friends Shutter_Bug and Cooldays came in to join us for the rest of the weekend. Once back to the saddle camp, Cooldays Shutter_Bug and I decided to hike the Devil's Hole trail down to the river. The rest of the guys opted for lolly gagging at camp. I would know why in a couple hours...

Devil's Hole Trail descends roughly 1100 feet in about 1.4 miles along the fall line. Needless to say, you are going down or you are going up. You won't find very many level spots along this trail, however there is a nice place to camp down by the river.

We hung out at the river for a spell and then made the ascent back up the trail to camp. All I could think while grinding up the hill was the trail laughs at you on the way down, it laughs even more on your way back up, but I am glad I hiked it. To me, it's one that every Gorge lover has to do just to have said they have done it. I don't see myself doing it again unless it was part of a bigger circuit of trails I was doing.

After meeting back up with the rest of the fellas at camp, and getting some much needed rest, we headed off to Louise's for some dinner. We returned back to camp where we had a nice fire and told some lies before heading off to the hammocks.

Sunday morning we finished off this trip with our traditional breakfast at Louise's before saying our goodbyes and heading our separate ways

It was another great trip to the big ditch.... Can't wait for the next time!!!

May 1, 2014

Foothills Trail, SC Sloan Bridge to Oconee state Park


Arrived at Burrells Ford Campground around 6pm. Met up with Loki and RF. Had a nice dinner and fellowship around the fire before retiring to the hammock around 9:30. I was really pumped up looking forward to getting this hike going even though I found out I would be hiking solo. I never mind soloing though as it really gives you a chance to connect not only wit yourself but Nature as well

 mileage 0


My good friends and shuttle crew for this Trip Running Feather and Loki, or sherpa 1 and sherpa dropped me at Sloan Bridge along Highway 107. After a little bit of lollygaging . I hit the trail 9:45am

It was a Cool cloudy day to start my roughly 25 mile trip

The trail from Sloan Bridge to Fish Hatchery Road was in good shape a few minor blow downs along with a couple knarly spots with roots rock and mud. Made excellent time. 1hr 20 to FHR. Taking a break here for hydration and a snack. Arrive at FHR at 11:05AM

Leaving FHR I began Ascending the mountain. Not a hard assent, but enough to get the blood pumping. This was followed by a nice wooded walk with some limited views of Chattooga gorge along with some undulations along the ridge. Switchbacks lead the way down the pretty sharp decent to bfr offering some more obstructed views into Chattooga gorge.

The trail then made a easy decent into Burrells Ford Campground.

What a great hike it was. I surprised myself with the time I made even with this being an easier section if the FHT

BFC 1:40pm
Total milage 7.78
Time 3hr 55 min

Set up camp in the same spot as last night. The rains began late in the afternoon so we huddled under a tarp Loki brought down from his van. Had MH New Orleans style of rice with ham and shrimp.Loki also surprised me with some cheesecake he had picked up at a restaurant he and RF found on their adventures during the day.

Headed to the hammock around 730. After a while of relaxing my eyes began to feel heavy. The rain was still coming down quite heavy as well. Hoped  for better conditions for hiking on Saturday. Hiking in the rain sucks but I was not calling off my trip due to rain... One leg down. 2 to go


After a night of rain and great sleep. Decided to slack pack to Nicholson Ford Road. My good friends really didn't want to tear down camp at BFC and to be quite truthful, I didn't want to tear down a pack wet gear either. Also being that I have backpacked this stretch multiple times. I figured why not just slack pack it. Hit the trail around 10:30am. Today's hike was marked by spotty trail and rainy weather. Still a fun hike.

 I had forgot about parts of this section and some parts seemed to drag on. A grind a times. Saw quite a few blow downs along the way and one that had uprooted and taken a section of the trail with it. 

Met Loki and RF at Pigpen Falls to catch a ride back to BFC where we'd stay for the night. I was pleasantly surprised to run into my buddy JJ and his girlfriend as they were getting ready head down to the river to camp. Along with them at the Trail Access was Hayward Douglass, The president of the FTC. Had a nice conversation with him about the trail and trail conditions. Ont the way back to BFC. We stopped for dinner at the Mountain Rest cafe . Great food and a pleasnt atmosphere. Sunday,  Loki and RF would drop me back at Nicholson Ford Road. From there I will hike the 7.6 miles to Oconee State Park. Mike and Loki planed to join up with me at jumping branch access and hike the last 4.2 with me

Off trail 3:45 P.M
Time on trail: 5hrs 15 mins
Milage 8.9
total: 16.68


Late start to the day. On trail at  12:05. The sun decided to come out for the last day of the trip and the forrest was full of florissant green as spring seemed to have sprung over night. Made it to 107 at 12:50pm and  To jumping branch at 1:25PM Little sluggish out of the gates but felt real good by the time I hit JBA. Stopped for a short break and a snack before making the final 4.6 to OSP. Got back on trail after my break at 1:50. I couldn't help but think about the fact that is was Easter and here I was surrounded by new life springing all around me. At one point a nice breeze came up and I just had to stop, close my eyes and soak it all in. 

There was a nice accent up long mountain after leaving JBA. Once up the top I took a quick side trail up to the summit and the old fire tower. unfortunately it was locked up by a fence so I just took a picture and started the decent to Oconee State Park. 

Pretty easy hiking from here out. I put my head down and just hiked the rest of the way making good time. I arrived at OSP at 3:40 PM

Time on trail 3hrs 35min
Mileage 7.74

total mileage: 24.42

A very special thanks to RF and Loki for the Shuttles!!!