Today’s hike showed the resilience and flexibility of Carolina Mountain Club hikers.
Two hikes in Montreat Conference Center were on the schedule, an all-day hike and half-day hike. But the snow was so high and abundant that they didn’t recommend that we hike there.
So at the last minute, Daisy, a first-time leader, switched the hike to a combination Mountains-to-Sea Trail and Bent Creek hike. She didn’t have time to scout the new hike but depended on experienced leaders.On the CMC website, she said that we would have a good experience and enjoy the sunny weather. So, in other words, just come; you’ll have a good time.
Thirteen people showed up. No one really needed to know the details. How long was it? How steep? How much ice? We were here to just get out into the woods after the horrendous weather of the last few days.
We started on the icy MST. I carry creepers, like baby crampons, but they’re so hard to put on that I don’t remember ever actually wearing them on the trail. No one in the group would wait for me in the cold while I put them on.
One person decided to turn back because she was concerned about the ice. That was a real shame because the trail stayed uncomfortably icy for a few hundred feet. Even with the ice and snow, it’s obvious that hikers and runners, especially runners, had used it well.
Turning back on a group hike is not trivial, since we carpool. Her car was at Westgate Shopping Center where we met in the morning but Carroll decided to turn back with her and drive her back to her car. He stopped by his place to pick up his creepers but managed to catch up with the rest of the group.
Further up, the snow was softer and we walked faster. See the picture above. By the time we headed down to Lake Powhatan in Bent Creek, we were warm. We passed mast collectors, mesh bags that collect acorns and other stuff that bears and squirrels eat. Right now, all the bags are collecting is snow.
Lunch at Lake Powhatan at a real picnic table. Someone spotted a tiny bat hanging on to a tree. We weren’t sure if it was sleeping, hibernating or just dead. And no, we didn’t poke the bat to test its reactions.
We got back to the cars very early. Thanks to Daisy for leading a great hike, not losing anyone and making it enjoyable to all.
May you lead many more!