On Sunday, I went up to Cold Mountain with Carolina Mountain Club. It was the standard, scheduled Sunday hike. Because the hike is in the Shining Rock Wilderness, the group size was restricted to 10 people. Brent Martin, who works for the Wilderness Society, was certainly going to keep to the legal limit.
I signed up for the hike almost two months ago. But to my surprise, only eight people showed up. I was sure that this hike was going to be a sell-out a month ago. I only knew Beth R., and Brent and his wife Angela. The others were new to the club.
It was a tough hike – 10.4 miles and 3,400 feet, according the CMC schedule. But all the climbing was on the way out to the top. Some of the trail was flattish, so it was more like 3,400 feet in about four miles. The trail was rocky and steep; no nice switchbacks like in the Smokies.
The first time I hiked up Cold Mountain must have been 2001, when we moved to Asheville. Tom Sanders, the leader, didn’t know me and explained how difficult it was going to be. He was right.
I’ve done it several times since then. But I was surprised that none of the hikers I did the Cold Mountain then were on this hike. What hike were they doing?
The top was all foggy and I felt sorry for those who had reached the top for the first time. The picture I took was on top so I couldn’t back up enough to get the whole group in. Sorry to those who got cut out of the picture. Maybe I’ll see you on another CMC hike.