We’ve been thinking about some of our favorite mountain places to explore come fall, and realized that there are a variety of ways we love to explore them. There’s the day hike: spending a day to see as much as possible, then heading home. There’s the basecamp trip: Either establishing camp in a campground or hiking in a short distance in full pack and setting up camp, then doing day hikes from there. Or, there’s the point-to-point backpack trip. Since we all explore differently, we thought, why not look at all three options? So today, we do.
It is the season that inspires our great philosophers. Friedrich Nietzsche, for instance, wrote: “Notice that autumn is more the season of the soul than of nature.”
Or this, from a more contemporary purveyor of percipient thought:
“It’s the first day of autumn! A time of hot chocolatey mornings, and toasty marshmallow evenings, and, best of all, leaping into leaves!”
Today’s post is a follow-up to last week’s post on backpack trips we intended to take in 2020, but couldn’t because of the pandemic.
Face it, are there no bad hikes. Each hike has its own special, well, “charm” may be pushing it. But each hike we do does have some unique or compelling aspect that, in the end, always has us saying, “That sure beat a day at the widget works.” Even when it’s finger-nipping cold, even when it’s wet enough to pack a snorkel.
On Saturday’s final hike of our 2018-2019 Winter Wild hike series, we decided to add an extra mile or so. It was a mile of trail I hadn’t hiked.
As we made our way up the north bank of New Hope Creek, I could hear the gradient increasing upstream, the sound of water cascading over rock a bit more intense than we’re used to hearing in the Piedmont. As the noise grew, some mild scrambling was required; we shinnied up a rock outcrop overlooking the creek and emerged on a slab 30 feet above the water.
We’ve got some great adventures planned for August that will salvage the summer and then some. Put on your adventure face, it’s time to get out and play!
=&0=&, backpacking, Linville Gorge, Aug. 10-12. Three days in one of the wildest, most scenic spots in the East will salvage any summer. Our 22 miles in the gorge starts at Table Rock on the East Rim. The first night is spent atop Shortoff Mountain, with sweeping sunset views of the gorge. On Saturday, we’ll descend to the Linville River for our first river crossing, then head up over rocky terrain interrupted only by behemoth downed trees (this being a designated Wilderness Area, the management strategy is to leave ’em where they lay). Sunday’s hike out includes more traipsing in the wilderness. It’s a backpacker’s most excellent adventure.
=&1=&, Transylvania County (and surrounding environs), camping/hiking, North Mills River Recreation Area, Aug. 17-19. Appropriately, for the dog days of August, we spend this mountain camping trip in appreciation of water. From a base camp at the North Mills River Campground, we’ll do three hikes: On Friday, we start at Gorges State Park with a hike along the Horsepasture River to Rainbow and Turtleback falls; on Saturday, we’ll explore the waterfalls—some of them swim-friendly!—at DuPont State Forest; and on Sunday, we’ll hike along—and in, at some points—North Mills River to the Hendersonville Reservoir. And, to make things even more carefree for you, we’ll provide all the food.
=&2=&, backpacking, Eno River State Park, Aug. 18-19. Here’s your chance to have some fun and sow the seeds for a whole new life of adventure. If you’ve been curious about backpacking, this is your chance to see whether spending the day on the trail and the night in the backcountry is for you. It’s a minimal investment — not even 24 hours, and we provide the backpacking gear — that could alter the trajectory of your exploring life. We’ll get you fitted in a pack and get you packed, then hike in a couple miles, set up camp, cook and hang out. We spend the night in the great outdoors, then cook some more and hike out. Just enough of a taste to let you know if backpacking is for you; if you decide it is, you’ll get 25 percent off our more extensive GetBackpacking! Intro to Backpacking class in September.
=&3=&, west of Franklin in the Nantahala National Forest, camping/hiking, Aug. 24-26. When it comes to summer adventure, nothing does it for us like days filled with challenging, scenic hiking, followed by lounging around camp and trading stories. That’s what this Classic Escape is all about: Saturday, we hike an 11-mile loop that includes a stretch on the Appalachian Trail and tops out on 5,498-foot Standing Indian Mountain, with a large view to the south and east of rolling ridges of rugged green. On Sunday we’ll fuel you with a pancake breakfast, then hike a shorter loop that includes the Appalachian Trail. In between, we’ll loll in the cool waters of Kimsey Creek, which runs through camp.
Join us for a summer adventure to remember.
For details on the August adventures mentioned: