Trail Reports

Two-Heel Drive, Tom Mangan’s site for hikers, campers and nature cravers

Posted by on Apr 24, 2011 @ 10:30 am in Hiking Blog, North Carolina | 2 comments

Two-Heel Drive, Tom Mangan’s site for hikers, campers and nature cravers

Earlier today, Tom Mangan of Two-Heel Drive challenged hiking bloggers to “review and profile a great hiking blog you discovered in the past month.” For me, this one’s easy… why it’s Tom’s site itself. Unlike my neophyte month-long foray into the joy of trail reporting, Tom has been at it for five years with his well-known and well-followed Two-Heel Drive. Most recently Tom has been sharing his experiences on the trails of North Carolina, but that barely scratches the surface. To understand the genesis of...

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The Narrows in Zion Canyon, Zion National Park

Posted by on Apr 22, 2011 @ 5:57 pm in Best Hike, Canyon Hikes, Hiking, Hiking Blog, Rated Moderate Hikes, Utah, Water Hikes, Zion National Park | 0 comments

The Narrows in Zion Canyon, Zion National Park

This hike has a reputation for being one of the best in the country, for good reason. The scenery, the environment, the trail (or lack thereof) are all unique and awe inspiring. You are actually hiking in the Virgin River through what is known as The Narrows in Zion Canyon. Steep sandstone cliffs rise a thousand feet or more on both sides of the river. The colors in the rock are stimulating. As the limited light strikes the river and the sandstone, glows can range from hues of gold and copper, to pink, orange and red. The vegetation that...

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Pilot Cove/Slate Rock Creek Trails, Pisgah National Forest

Posted by on Apr 17, 2011 @ 2:23 pm in Forest Hikes, Hiking, Hiking Blog, North Carolina, Pisgah National Forest, Rated Easy Hikes | 11 comments

Pilot Cove/Slate Rock Creek Trails, Pisgah National Forest

Hidden deep within the Mills River area of Pisgah National Forest, the Pilot Cove/Slate Rock Creek loop trail is primarily a water feature hike. There are two notable waterfalls and several cascades on Slate Rock Creek, and views of Slate Rock through the trees. We encountered several creek crossings (some wading, some with log bridges), and a relatively young forest. This hike occurred on April 14, 2011 beginning at 10:45AM and ending about 2:15PM. The plan was to take the Pilot Cove Trail through Pilot Cove then up on the rim overlooking...

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Art Loeb Trail to Cold Mountain, Shining Rock Wilderness

Posted by on Apr 13, 2011 @ 5:11 pm in Hiking, Hiking Blog, North Carolina, Rated Difficult Hikes, Shining Rock Wilderness, Vista Hikes | 1 comment

Art Loeb Trail to Cold Mountain, Shining Rock Wilderness

Cold Mountain gained national attention following the publishing of Charles Frazier’s Civil War era novel in 1997. Western NC hiking enthusiasts have known of its appeal for much longer. Cold Mountain is a real mountain that stretches 6030′ and is located in the Shining Rock Wilderness and Pisgah National Forest in North Carolina. You can reach the spur trail to the summit on the Art Loeb Trail; section 3 from the south, or section 4 from the west. The trail was named for a member of the Carolina Mountain Club who devoted much of...

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The Masters 2011

Posted by on Apr 11, 2011 @ 8:54 pm in Georgia, Hiking Blog | 0 comments

The Masters 2011

Meanderthals took a little break last week as I attended The Masters at Augusta National Golf Club in Georgia. There are a handful of athletic events that qualify as once-in-a-lifetime opportunities. Some that come to mind are The Olympics, The World Cup, The Superbowl, The NCAA Final Four. In my estimation The Masters is right there with that group. It may be one of the hardest tickets to obtain anywhere. The golf course itself is in a league of its own with its lush fairways and manicured greens, its towering pines and flowering azalea. The...

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Cedar Run and Whiteoak Canyon Trails, Shenandoah National Park

Posted by on Apr 3, 2011 @ 10:33 am in Hiking, Hiking Blog, Rated Difficult Hikes, Shenandoah National Park, Virginia, Water Hikes | 0 comments

Cedar Run and Whiteoak Canyon Trails, Shenandoah National Park

Most people think of Skyline Drive, or the mountains that overlook Shenandoah Valley when they imagine Shenandoah National Park in Virginia. But my favorite hike during a visit in early autumn was the Cedar Run, Whiteoak Circuit that starts at milepost 45.6 on the SD. It’s a brute of a hike, but well worth the effort exerted for the combinations of creeks and streams, waterfalls, deep forest and wildlife. This is one where you might want to consider your physical condition. No matter which direction you go, there is going to be a very...

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Mt. LeConte via Alum Cave Trail, Great Smoky Mountains National Park

Posted by on Apr 1, 2011 @ 5:54 pm in Best Hike, Great Smoky Mountains National Park, Hiking, Hiking Blog, Rated Difficult Hikes, Tennessee, Vista Hikes | 13 comments

Mt. LeConte via Alum Cave Trail, Great Smoky Mountains National Park

One of the enduring pleasures in the Tennessee portion of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park is scaling the 6,593 feet of beauty that is Mt. LeConte. It isn’t quite the highest mountain in the park, but it is by far the tallest hike from its base. The summit is so popular, there are five distinct trails to the top, varying in distance and difficulty. My favorite is the Alum Cave Trail. It is the shortest, at five miles to the summit, but as a result it is also the steepest and most difficult. At the top are cabins known as LeConte...

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Jonas Ridge and Shortoff Trails, Linville Gorge Wilderness

Posted by on Apr 1, 2011 @ 12:40 am in Best Hike, Hiking, Hiking Blog, Linville Gorge Wilderness, North Carolina, Rated Moderate Hikes, Vista Hikes | 1 comment

Jonas Ridge and Shortoff Trails, Linville Gorge Wilderness

Formal protection of the Linville Gorge began in 1952, when the land was purchased with funds donated by John D. Rockefeller, Jr. When the Wilderness Act was approved by Congress and signed into law by President Johnson in 1964, the Linville Gorge Wilderness became one of the first formally designated Wilderness areas of the new National Wilderness Preservation System. Wonderful news for future generations, as this wilderness that covers more than 12,000 acres will remain in the same pristine condition for centuries to come. The area is...

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Panthertown Trail System, Nantahala National Forest

Posted by on Mar 30, 2011 @ 7:57 pm in Hiking, Hiking Blog, Nantahala National Forest, North Carolina, Rated Moderate Hikes, Vista Hikes | 1 comment

Panthertown Trail System, Nantahala National Forest

Panthertown Valley lies in Nantahala National Forest near Cashiers and Lake Toxaway, North Carolina. The Forest Service, along with the Friends of Panthertown, have created a trail system in combination with old logging roads that lead to waterfalls, cliffs, bogs, deep forest and spectacular overlooks of the surrounding valley. Panthertown has been designated a Blue Ridge National Heritage Area. This hike occurred on November 18, 2010 beginning at 9:00AM and ending about 3:00PM. We did not have a particular hike itinerary because only one of...

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Buckeye Gap, Haywood Gap, Blue Ridge Parkway

Posted by on Mar 27, 2011 @ 3:24 pm in Blue Ridge Parkway, Forest Hikes, Hiking, Hiking Blog, Middle Prong Wilderness, North Carolina, Rated Difficult Hikes | 4 comments

Buckeye Gap, Haywood Gap, Blue Ridge Parkway

The Middle Prong Wilderness is west of North Carolina Hwy. 215 and north of the Blue Ridge Parkway. It is named after the Middle Prong of the Little Pigeon River that runs through the heart of the wilderness. This is remote territory in the high country near 6000 feet. Prepare yourself for heavy breathing — from exertion, and from natural beauty. Buckeye Gap Trail takes you to Middle Prong, then Haywood Gap Trail follows the river back up the drainage. This hike occurred on November 5, 2010 beginning at 8:00AM and ending about 2:00PM....

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Fryingpan Mountain, Blue Ridge Parkway

Posted by on Mar 27, 2011 @ 11:11 am in Blue Ridge Parkway, Hiking, Hiking Blog, North Carolina, Pisgah National Forest, Rated Easy Hikes, Vista Hikes | 0 comments

Fryingpan Mountain, Blue Ridge Parkway

Between North Carolina Scenic Hwy. 276 and the Pisgah Inn is Fryingpan Mountain, one of a series of mountains along the north side of the Blue Ridge Parkway that help form the Pisgah Ridge. It sits at mile 410 on the parkway. A unique feature of Fryingpan is the 1940s era fire tower that affords spectacular views of the surrounding Blue Ridge. The tower is on the National Register of Historic Places. This hike occurred on February 11, 2011 beginning at 10:00AM and ending about 2:00PM. Our goal on this day was to start at the Mt. Pisgah Trail,...

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Sam Knob and Little Sam, Blue Ridge Parkway

Posted by on Mar 25, 2011 @ 2:59 pm in Best Hike, Blue Ridge Parkway, Hiking, Hiking Blog, North Carolina, Pisgah National Forest, Rated Moderate Hikes, Vista Hikes | 5 comments

Sam Knob and Little Sam, Blue Ridge Parkway

This hike is in one of my favorite areas of Pisgah National Forest along the Blue Ridge Parkway in western North Carolina. It lies in a little corner between Middle Prong Wilderness and Shining Rock Wilderness where the mountain tops are bald and exceed 6000′. This hike occurred on March 24, 2011 beginning at 10:00AM and ending about 3:00PM. The goal on this day for the two of us was to climb to the top of 6050′ Sam Knob, a bald or treeless mountain with a 360 degree view from its double summit. Following that, we were going to...

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Table Rock Trail, Table Rock State Park, South Carolina

Posted by on Mar 24, 2011 @ 3:47 am in Hiking, Hiking Blog, Rated Difficult Hikes, South Carolina, Vista Hikes | 1 comment

Table Rock Trail, Table Rock State Park, South Carolina

This park sits right on the cliff’s edge of the Blue Ridge Escarpment that drops down from the mountains in western North Carolina to the upcountry of South Carolina. The park is more than 3,000 acres of trails, lakes, cabins and camping. Table Rock State Park is located 12 miles north of Pickens, SC. This hike occurred on February 2, 2011 beginning at 9:30AM and ending at 2:30PM. Three of us set out with a goal of climbing the nearly 2000 feet to the summit of Table Rock Mountain on the Table Rock Trail. Near the 3124′ summit...

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