Sunday, July 6, 2014

A Wilderness Snapshot

Oh this will be a condensed, and for that I am terribly sorry because the experience is worthy of so much more few words...but that is part of being in the true internet access and little to no phone service. I have truly been on the trail the last 5 days in both body and mind.

Taking a break atop Shortoff Mountain above the Linville Gorge
And lemme tell you, these feet have walked some hard miles. I have been regularly ascending and descending between 1000 and 2000 feet, walking dusty fire ravaged mountain ridges, following trail along lushly vegetated waterways such as Steele's Creek and Upper Creek with lots of opportunities for a quick dip in one the abundant waterfalls, tunneling through Rhododendron thickets, hiking through sweeping meadows with Coreopsis and Wild Carrot up to my waist, and tenting along the edge of craggy mountain rocks.

The trail approaching the Linville River
And of course, all this mountain plant life has been offering some fantastic foraging along the way! Wood Nettle has been a part of dinner every night this week and its not hard to find considering, it too, has been growing nearly waist high, and stinging these hiker legs down narrow overgrown trail. But the best find was this Stonecrop, growing true to its name, atop a large flat boulder near a small cascade.

Multi-grain flatbread with sharp cheddar cheese, kalamata olives, fresh Stonecrop (Sedum ternatum), and a light spread of mayo. I had the pleasure of eating this while seated on an enormous boulder surrounded by the spindly roots of a tree that had made its home there.
Even out here in the wilderness, I've had the good fortune of making some new friends...

Megg and Carter
Above are Megg and Carter. I met these ladies while fording the Linville River, they on one side, myself on the other. After fording we got to talking...turns out these ladies are section hiking the MST, at least 100 miles a year is the plan, however they've already surpassed this year's goal! Carter is the reason why I am able to post a blog tonight! She gave me a call today and it just so happened I was at one of the few road crossings along the trail and said, "Hey would you like to sleep in a bed tonight?" And so has taken me home to her cabin in Linville Falls for the evening. Thank you Carter!

Teepee Walter aka Uncle Fungus
This here is Teepee Walter. In that pack on his pack, he has got 22 days worth of food! I thought about him several times as I moaned and groaned my way up the mountainsides with my suddenly modest pack. He was headed into the woods surrounding Steeles Creek, using the MST as a backbone to get to the various side trails. No resupplies planned. He told me about an absolutely magnificent waterfall that could be seen from a cliff just off trail from where I'd be camping that night. My God, Teepee Walter, you weren't kidding, I felt like I could have just soared off that mountain!

A moth who found me while sitting atop a rock lunching at The Pinnacle
And how could I not include this lil' guy. He joined me for lunch at The Pinnacle...I believe he was lunching on my dirty toe.

I will just have to make up for this short post when I get to Asheville on Thursday! I will be posting a list of my Asheville events immediately following this one!


  1. how well blazed was the trail through LG?

    1. It was actually considerably better than it was the last time I went through here. A fire came through not long ago, but it appears to me as if blazes have been repainted. Important to pay attention, but not too bad

  2. Very excellent blog! It was great seeing you and hearing the words, "Outer Banks". I knew you were in it for the long haul. I just returned yesterday July 18 from my trek and got midge-bit and 6 yellow jacket stings and crossed about 50 creeks and swam a hundred times. And didn't fall to my death at the top of a dozen waterfalls.

    My ride picked me up and it was Amy Willow Allen who told me she met you in Black Mountain at Take A Hike backpacking store and you guys mentioned me, pretty cool, pretty small world.

    Tipi Walter

    1. Oh no, Yellow Jackets! I've heard of so many getting stung by these recently. Not the most friendly critters in the woods, eh? The swimming and waterfalls sound grand! I really did think of you quite a bit when the weather was bad or the climbs were tough...I thought, "Well Tipi Walter is out there somewhere in this too right now!" Yes, I met Willow when I dropped in to share my book with them - what a surprise to hear her mention you! The trail is indeed a small world :) Keep me updated of your further adventures!