It was 6 degrees or 9 degrees Fahrenheit, depending on what web site or app you were looking at when Sharon Mc. and I left my place in Asheville to meet the rest of the Carolina Mountain Club group this morning.
Karen L., a new CMC leader, had scheduled an ambitious hike in the Pisgah District up to the Blue Ridge Parkway. Since the Parkway is closed almost everywhere, the hike would have showed off the icicle formations on the side of the road. But she wisely felt that hiking at the 4,000 ft-5,000 ft altitude wasn’t wise. So she switched the hike to Dupont Recreational State Forest, a wise decision.
Eleven hikers showed up – amazing. We were all comparing the number and type of layers we were wearing. You’re not going to get pictures of my clothing. But here goes:
- a thin thermal top
- a thick thermal top
- a light fleece jacket
- a down jacket
On the bottom
- a thin pair of thermal bottons
- a thick pair of thermal bottoms that could be worn by itself
- Hiking pants
Two pairs of gloves, a neck warmer and a wool hat. And of course, hiking boots with wool socks. Did I forget anything?
We started at the Lake Imaging parking lot and walked to frozen Lake Imaging. Then up to Grassy Creek Falls. By then, the uphill got me a little warmer and I could start to feel my fingers. Grassy Creek Falls was partially frozen, just like me.
Down, down, down and finally to Lake Dense for lunch – see the photo on top of this post.
All that heat got dissipated when we sat by the lake. Lake Dense was cracking and coming out with the most unusual moans and groans. It sounded like an animal was trapped under the water.
We worked our way to the highlight of the Forest – first High Falls, then Triple Falls. Both Falls had wonderful ice formation, while still running aggressively.
Other walkers were making their way to the falls. Some got as close to the falls as possible, braving the ice. Others stayed back on dry land.
By the time we got back to our cars, the temperature had climbed to the 30s – a heat wave.
When I got home, I found that I had a bunch of discarded clothes on my bed and floor – fleece and thermal underwear that I had tried on and rejected. My places now looks like a teenager’s bedroom before a big dance.
The day was cold, my fingers were freezing much of the time but I’m so glad I went hiking. Dupont Forest is a gem.