Monday, February 16, 2015

Putting one foot in front of the other...

Greetings friends,

Glad you have made it to this here blog on this fine Monday. Sorry for not posting at all last week. It was K.A.W's birthdaystravaganza last weekend and my time was spent as it should be for such occasions... at the beckon call of K.A.W.

However, now that we are both back on a regular schedule I have had a little time to get out and about and enjoy the damn fine out-of-doors that we are living in. Things have been on the cool side at Greenview Manor this past week. It seems that Winter has finally decided to "get real" here in AVLUSA. Temperatures have been holding steady at "damn its cold" with forecasts calling for "mother of GOD someone light me on fire I'm freezing to death!" cold this coming week. But that has never kept us heartier mountain folk from enjoying the sunshine when we get it. You see K.A.W and myself are just so fortunate enough to be living in an out-of-doors person's paradise. Fishing, mountain cycling, rock climbing, etc are all at our doorstep. I'm not saying this to be braggadocios, more as a means to let you folks know that variety is the spice of life... and we got variety.

Lately I have been doing my best to fight the apathy and slothful tendencies that cold temperatures and short days bring to my life. Come February my seasonal effective/all I want to do is lay on the couch eating pimento cheese "disorder", is at its zenith. Fighting the wintertime blues gets hard. Luckily I have good friends up here to help pull me out of said apathy/imminent pimento cheese binges, and get me outside. Luke from Swannanoa is just such a dude....


Plans were planned and schemes were schumed and Luke, The Bear, and myself took off for some good ole' fashioned foot walking, or as the yankees call it "hiking". Come winter, Luke, much like myself, find it hard to get on a pedal bike for mountain rides. Instead of taking my route and bitching and whining he laces up the hiking boots and goes for gnar hikes up in the hills.

Luke on 6,621' Mt. Guyot.

I used to be a hiker first and mountaincycler second. This all changed a few years back and now I only occasionally shoulder a pack on a mountain trail. Its a damn shame too. Walking down a remote back country trail, in complete silence, with everything you need to sustain you loaded on your back is awesome. Mix that with some adventurous off-trail shenanigans and you got a hell of day...

Luke, The Bear, and I headed up to Middle Prong Wilderness so he could bag another 6,000 footer...  6.119' Mt. Hardy. He is well on his way to bagging all the 6k foot plus mountains in the southeast and Mt. Hardy was on the list. The day started pretty awesome with temperatures in the low 20's and no breeze at all. The plan was to access the summit from a spur trail off of the MST and hopefully hit some other cool spots along the way...

We made the summit in no time and the trail was pretty tame as far as 6k footers go. Once there we both were kinda bummed. It seemed too easy to just walk up to the top of a 6k footer like that. Luke called the plan and we decided to try to bushwhack down the side of Mt. Hardy back to the MST. Off trail travel is always interesting. You either make it fine, make it torn to shreds, or get lost. We ended up somewhere in the middle but no worse for wear. The Bear was in hog heaven running hither and fro through the forest. I'm pretty sure she was channeling her ancient wolf ancestors because I swear she was smiling as she jumped through laurel thickets and over stumps and rocks chasing us down the mountain.

old narrow gauge train track from the logging days 
cheers Pisgah!

"A man and his dog"
photo cred: Luke

Mt. Hardy

USGS marker from 1933 . Back in the day Mt. Hardy was called Black Mtn.

Summit of Mt. Hardy. Not too scencic...

The Bear raging on some bushwhacking

Along the return trail we started talking about the waterfall we had seen in the distance on the approach. It seemed fairly close and after surveying the map we saw no trail to access it.


mystery falls.

A few moments later we found ourselves balls deep in rhododendron thickets slogging our way up to an un-named fall in the middle of the damn forest. After some pretty tight and tricky crawling we made it to the base and stood in awe of the frozen image in front of us. Not too often that you get to see a 70 foot waterfall frozen solid. Of course we had to climb it so up we went for some pictures.

The Bear wasnt too happy to be around frozen waterfalls

REI advertisement.

After a not so difficult traverse back to the trail we hiked out and back to the car.

Another Pisgah adventure crushed. 


Valentines Day.

K.A.W and I do what any outdoor loving couple does when its 22 degrees outside and gusting 20mph. We climbed some big ass mountains.

Big Butt Trail in the Big Ivy/Coleman Boundary area was the destination. The Big Ivy is a fairly large, untouched tract of land in the Pisgah and this was perfect for a couple mountain folks seeking solitude on a romantic holiday hike. We didn't see a soul out there. I'm sure it had nothing to do with the freezing temps and wind chills in the teens but whatever, we were digging it.

Love of my life.

Summit of Big Butt.

Black Mountain Range

Cheers Pisgah!

cold and sad...

After the hike it was downtown for sushi and booze to complete the romantic festivities.

*** Logging interests are actively petitioning the USFS to open Big Ivy up to mass logging which would mean the total and absoulte distruction of an amazing and unique ecosystem. Please email the USFS and tell them NO to logging Big Ivy or click here to sign the ePetition

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All the hiking up and down mountain trail had left me a little lonesome for some two wheeled adventure. A deep cold and windy day had settled over AVLUSA but the sun was shining bright and begging me to get out and shred. I waited until the temperature got above 20 degrees and set out for the singletrack around Montreat, NC. I started up the Old Toll Rd., rock hoping and pedaling my way around the edge of town. The plan was to hit some trail down into Ridgecrest, climb back up and then rail it down Toll back to the truck. I don't know if it was the hiking or the carrot pancakes I had earlier at Sunny Pointe Cafe but I was hauling the mail up Toll. Pretty soon I reached Rhododendron Trail and bombed down into Ridgecrest. Knowing that I had a huge climb ahead on Rattlesnake I spun out my legs on the pavement approaching the trail. Once on Rattlesnake I felt strong and mashed my way up the summit. Soon enough I was back on Toll and ripped back down to the truck before the sun set and the temperatures took a dive.

That will probably be my last ride for a good little while since AVLUSA is set to get the mighty wrath of winter this week. The good news is snow may mean no work... snow day and a fridge full of beer makes for excellent times 'round here. Fingers crossed...

Well folks that about wraps up the goings on here in AVLUSA. Hope your weekend was excellent as well...

Stay warm this week.

Party on.

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