Starting with 92.1 miles, 13,650 ft. ascent
A short day today. Rain was predicted from 9 A.M. on but it wasn’t raining when we were ready to leave the house, so we went.
We hiked on the Mountains-to-Sea Trail from the Folk Art Center to Bull Gap at the second crossing of Ox Creek Rd. Only 8.9 miles but the Blue Ridge Parkway was closed after that and we couldn’t go further.
We are in hunting season. Though you can’t hunt on Blue Ridge Parkway land, the public land is a thin ribbon through private property, so we heard plenty of shots.
We walked through a wooded section, mostly uphill, though we did see a few houses.
Our first unusual find was a zip-lock bag, attached to a tree and blowing in the wind. The piece of paper inside said “In Loving Memory of Linny” and it had a picture of Linny on the back. Maybe Linny loved this piece of the MST. No other clues.
We reached Lunch Rocks mid-morning. Every place has a Lunch Rocks, These rocks look down on Hawk Creek, an Asheville neighborhood.
The turn-off from the trail to Lunch Rocks used to be well-signposted but now, we just had to guess at it. The view is mostly of houses below, with some houses scattered above.
The Blue Ridge Parkway is very intent on protecting viewsheds off the Parkway. But are people really bothered by seeing civilization from an overlook? I think it makes it interesting. “Where are we looking at?” I ask. I don’t think people want to hike or drive in a green tunnel.
As we continued up, we saw a barrel that we think was left from moonshine days. Based on survey markers pounded into the ground, this land only became public in the 1960s, so it is not that far-fetched.
Mountain laurel lined the trail almost the whole way but there was almost no rhododendrons.
I wonder why. I always seem to associate them together.
It didn’t start raining until a half-mile before we reached our car – not bad planning.
That evening we went to Diamond Brand Outdoors to listen to Bill Hart talk about his book, Three Thousand Miles in the Great Smokies.
The whole point of this MST adventure is to see our state and Sharon got to see Diamond Brand and Bill.
Cumulative after Day 7 – 101 miles, 15,850 ft. ascent
Day 8 was a sad day. The weather was getting worse and there were predictions of rain, wind, snow and general messy weather and roads. So we didn’t hike the next day. Though the sun came out, I didn’t feel too bad when I read the following in the Asheville Citizen-Times.
A number of counties in Western North
Carolina are reporting downed trees and flooding along with some power outages after a night of heavy rain and wind.Downed trees were reported in Haywood, Cherokee, Swain and
Graham counties, emergency dispatchers said.