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GetHiking! in the Shining Rock Wilderness

UPDATE II

This will be the last update (probably) on tomorrow’s trip to Shining Rock.

WEATHER: The forecast still calls for highs close to 80 and a better-than-average chance of thunderstorms beginning after noon — a pretty common summer forecast. Again, I strongly encourage you to bring rain gear. We have a couple of passages through tight heath habitats that, after even a brief rain, treat your body like an automatic carwash. Temperatures tend to drop when storms move through in the mountains: the combo of wet and cool can make life uncomfortable.

PRIMITIVE CAMPING: If anyone is planning to primitive camp for the weekend, let me know. I’m heading up this afternoon and will be camping in the black balsam stand just west of the parking area. The forest floor is cush with pine needles and the canopy is dense, offering some protection from downpours.

BONUS SUNDAY HIKE: If you’re staying over Saturday night, we will do a bonus hike Sunday, starting from near Saturday’s trailhead and hiking east on the Mountains-to-Sea Trail into the Graveyard Fields area, home to a couple of nice waterfalls. That hike will also begin at 10 a.m. We’re looking at a maximum of 10 miles.

See everyone at 10 a.m. Saturday.

* * *

UPDATED INFO ON SATURDAY’S HIKE

Greetings, all!

Hope you’re looking forward to a day in the mountains Saturday. Here is the plan for our hike at Shining Rock.

From the Black Balsam parking area we will hike north on the Ivestor Gap Trail for 2.2 miles. This trail follows an old road bed and is relatively flat, though rocky in spots. At Ivestor Gap, we will pick up the Art Loeb Trail and head north to Shining Rock, another 2 miles or so. We’ll have lunch at Shining Rock, a white quartz outcrop that’s fun to scramble on. We will return in figure 8 fashion, heading back on the Ivestor Gap Trail to Ivestor Gap, then picking up the Art Loeb Trail south, to the Art Loeb spur which leads down to the parking area. This circuit is 8.5 miles.

Back at the parking area, if you’re up for more, there’s a 2.5-mile loop into the Sam Knob/Little Sam Knob area on the Sam Knob and Flat Laurel Creek trails. A half mile (out-and-back) spur to Sam Knob offers great views.

I will have maps and trail directions at the traillhead.

Some additional notes:

GROUP SIZE. At Ivestor Gap we enter the Shining Rock Wilderness area. Group size is restricted to no more than 10 people. Here, we will send hikers off in groups of 10 in five minute intervals.

WILDERNESS AREA: Trails are generally not signed or blazed in wilderness areas, and can sometimes be hard to follow. Hopefully, the map and trail directions I provide will help. This is an especially good hike to have a compass on, to keep you from straying too far in the wrong direction.

WEATHER:  As of Wednesday, the forecast for Canton, which is near the wilderness but 2,500 vertical feet below, calls for a high of 79 and a chance of thunderstorms. Where we will be it will likely be in the low 70s, with a chance of thunderstorms. I strongly suggest that you at least bring a rain jacket or poncho. The temperature often drops with a mountain thunderstorm, creating a double whammy of cold and wet. You should also bring an extra upper layer in case you get wet.

As always, I will lead from the rear. If you’re uncertain about the trail, hang in the rear and we should be fine.

I look forward to seeing everyone at 10 a.m. Saturday!

* * *

The first of our monthly trips to the mountains to escape the summer heat. Destination: the Shining Rock Wilderness of the Pisgah National Forest. Shining Rock is a must-do destination for any Tarheel hiker. The Shining Rock Wilderness itself is 18,483 acres, and that’s a small part of an overall area known for high, open meadows and balds, rugged canyon climbs, and the passage across Shining Rock Ledge to Cold Mountain.

Depending upon how many hike leaders sign up (if you’re interested in leading, drop me a line), we will do multiple hikes ranging in distance and difficulty. The one hike we will definitely do, which I would rate as moderate/strenuous, is from the Black Balsam Forest Service parking area north on the Ivestor Gap Trail, which is relatively flat. We will take it to the southern edge of the Shining Rock Wilderness. From there, we will pick up the Art Loeb Trail heading north to Shining Rock. This is an out-and-back; the return will be on a slightly different route, mostly along the Art Loeb Trail. Total distance is about 12 miles.

The hike will start at 10 a.m. If you’d like to make a weekend of it, Brevard is the nearest town with good lodging options. The Davidson River Campground outside Brevard is about a half hour from the trailhead; it fills quickly on a summer weekend, reservations are highly recommended. The North Mills River Campground is also nearby. I plan to primitive camp; if you’re interested in hiking in 4-5 miles and setting up camp, leave a comment and we will hook up.

If there’s enough interest, we will do a hike(s) on Sunday as well. If you’re interested in hiking Sunday, leave a comment.

I’ll be posting more details as the date nears.


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  • Leigh, S.

    Nice group, and hiking

    June 23, 2014

  • Tommy H.

    But I had a great time anyway!! It was great being with great hiking buddies:)

    June 23, 2014

  • Tommy H.

    Scenery was nice would have been better but there were leadership and lack of trail knowledge.

    June 23, 2014

  • J.

    A good time was had. Bye Y'all. ;)

    1 · June 22, 2014

  • Leigh, S.

    Also thanks to Joe Miller for organized the hiking!

    June 22, 2014

  • Leigh, S.

    Enjoyed hiking and group very much.
    Thanks guys, who posted pictures
    and J, gave me a ride!

    June 22, 2014

  • Maggie

    So lucky the weather turned out great. Really enjoyed getting out under the blue skies.

    June 22, 2014

  • Janet

    It was an amazing day with awesome hiking buddies and a handful of nuts:)

    2 · June 22, 2014

    • J.

      ROFL!

      June 22, 2014

  • Jim S.

    Great hike with great people. Beautiful views and the sense of humor was soaring with the heights

    June 22, 2014

  • Gayle

    Great time and company, perfect weather. Thank you to those who brought maps, a level head , sense of direction, and sense of humor!!

    June 22, 2014

  • A former member
    A former member

    Great hike with a wonderful group of people! Well done

    June 21, 2014

  • Hal

    Anyone want to do a shorter hike there, 8 miles, and those of us carpool together. But I need to carpool with someone for the shorter hike.

    June 16, 2014

    • Maggie

      I'd like to carpool as well. We could meet off of exit 27 on I85 at the Dunkin Donuts. There's a large parking lot there.

      June 17, 2014

    • Maggie

      Hi Becky - it looks like Hal can't make it today. I'll still be at the Roses on exit27 at 6:30 if you want to carpool. Green Toyota Camry.

      June 21, 2014

  • Hal

    Cannot go to Shining Rock, not feeling well

    June 21, 2014

    • Maggie

      Hope you feel better soon.

      June 21, 2014

  • Laurie A. F.

    Wish I could make this one, but it seems a bit confusing with multiple groups and sketchy trail markers. Might I suggest 2 way radios and a place to purchase maps in case there are not enough for each group.

    June 20, 2014

  • Leigh, S.

    J., Do you still have a room for one for carpooling?

    June 15, 2014

    • J.

      Hi Tammy. I have 3 riders currently, unless someone backs out at the last minute.

      June 20, 2014

    • J.

      Look for a red Mazda Wagon

      June 20, 2014

  • A former member
    A former member

    Looking to carpool. I am in south charlotte.

    June 11, 2014

    • A former member
      A former member

      Hi Meg, I have 1 more spot but it's in the backseat of a sedan-your's if you want it. I see that Foster (above) is able to drive as well, so let me know what you decide ASAP

      June 19, 2014

    • Meg

      Becky, a ride sounds great! Just let me know where to meet. (You can reply to this or send me an email.) Thanks!

      June 20, 2014

  • Foster de la H.

    I am looking to carpool as well. I am near the Park Road Shopping Center, off of Woodlawn. I can take my car or drive with someone else.

    June 19, 2014

  • Hal

    To All, The trail head appears to be at Mile Post 420.2 and then turn right onto Forest Service Rd. 816 which is Black Balsam Rd. and drive 1.3 miles to trail head. Not mile post 430. I will e-mail Joe Miller

    June 18, 2014

  • A former member
    A former member

    somebody told me this area is under "Bear Alert". any idea?

    June 17, 2014

    • Joe M.

      That's more of a concern for backpackers. There have been reports of bears wandering into camps in the night, searching for ill-protected food.

      June 18, 2014

  • Jim S.

    It is fairly common for the area. I saw a bear weekend before last going up Garden Mountain in Virginia. It's to be expected and being in a group all should be well.

    June 18, 2014

  • Mike

    I will be there. I plan to drive up Friday afternoon and set up camp. If anyone else can go up Friday that would be great. I am also up for primative camping if anyone is interested in 2 nights of that. Also, I am interested in the longer hike.

    June 17, 2014

  • Hal

    Hi Becky, I have sent you an e-mail to accept a ride with you, plus I can lead an 8 mile hike for you and others. I have given directions to Roses Dept Lot in Belmont Exit 27 I-85 half mile south on Rt 273 to traffic light at Wells Fargo, and right into toward Roses Dept Lot across from bank as carpool place I will notify Maggie who also wants ride and shorter hike.

    June 17, 2014

    • Maggie

      Hi Hal - Thanks! I'll meet you at Target at 6am.

      1 · June 17, 2014

  • A former member
    A former member

    Is moderate/strenous because of the steep terrain or just the 12 miles?

    June 8, 2014

    • Joe M.

      The main challenge at Harper Creek was keeping on the trail (and if you kept in mind that it followed the creek the entire way, it shouldn't have been much of a challenge). This hike is relatively flat for the first four miles and is along an old roadbed, which is rocky in spots. Once it enters the wilderness, there are two moderate climbs. Neither are especially steep or long, though passage through the undergrowth is tight in spots. Because of the interest in an eight-mile hike, there will be an option of returning on the Art Loeb Trail at the four-mile mark.

      June 17, 2014

    • A former member
      A former member

      on the 8 miles will be doing the Knob Butt Trail?

      June 17, 2014

  • Joe

    J.- I would like to catch a ride. I live in downtown Charlotte. would be happy to come to any other location.
    Joe "Pearl" Pearlman
    [masked]

    June 16, 2014

    • J.

      Yes. See other thread. :)

      June 17, 2014

  • Foster de la H.

    I am interested in this trip. I would like to camp as well, in a backcountry site.

    May 28, 2014

    • Jim S.

      Hello Joe. I'm a maybe on the camping. Depending on how things look as far as work I'm hoping to head to Curtis Creek and camp a few days ahead of time. I'll keep an eye on this before I go. Once I leave I ditch the technology.

      June 6, 2014

    • Jim S.

      Hi Joe. Going to slip out after work Wednesday and stay at Curtis Creek and play around there biking and hiking. I'll see you Saturday morning!

      June 17, 2014

  • Jim S.

    OK. I know this isn't a market place, but I've gotten no nibbles from Craig's list. I have a pair of mens Salomon Tech-amphibian 3 water shoes. Size 11. They are to small for me. Only worn during a rafting trip in Costa Rica last year. Any guys on here that can use them?

    June 16, 2014

    • A former member
      A former member

      try ebay

      June 16, 2014

    • Jim S.

      My dad likes to dabble on ebay, so I might give them to him to handle. Thanks. I'll throw them in my truck for the weekend in case anyone asks. Just thought I'd put it out there in case anyone was considering getting some and could save them a nickel or two.

      June 17, 2014

  • A former member
    A former member

    Anyone interested in carpooling from Dilworth? I would like to do the 12 mile hike.

    June 17, 2014

  • Joe M.

    Greetings all! I'll be posting more details about the hike tomorrow; am checking now to see if anyone is interested in helping to lead this hike. Let me know and I will get in touch to discuss pronto. Thanks!

    June 16, 2014

  • Hal

    I live in Huntersville and can meet there or in Belmont for example, for carpooling.

    June 16, 2014

    • Maggie

      Hi - I'm in Huntersville on exit 25. I can meet near there or in Belmont.

      June 16, 2014

  • RamK

    Any carpools?

    June 2, 2014

    • RamK

      Just emailed you on meetup, I will join the carpool, emailed you on meetup.

      June 6, 2014

    • RamK

      Grace, sorry I may not be going to this event this event, since friends are in town and wants go for boating at Lake Norman.. thank you much for Car pool offer..

      June 16, 2014

  • RamK

    sorry guys! i had to change my plans for the weekend! See you guys next time!

    June 16, 2014

  • Leigh, S.

    Can I get a carpool?

    June 5, 2014

    • Grace

      Thank you

      June 15, 2014

    • J.

      I have room for 3.

      June 15, 2014

  • Hal

    I am willing to lead an 8 mile hike for those who want shorter. Also would like a carpool. I assume that folks are heading west on I-85 and then Rt 74 or I -85 than up I-26. I could meet at Roses Dept Store on Exit 27 I-85 in Belmont.

    June 15, 2014

  • Janet P

    I'm interested in a more moderate hike, 5-7 miles, if you end up doing something like that. thanks!

    1 · June 15, 2014

  • -Ruth M

    Is anyone planning to camp at one of the two campgrounds?

    1 · June 9, 2014

    • Andrea

      Good luck getting a spot, the closest place I could get is north mills river.

      June 11, 2014

    • Joe M.

      North Mills River is close. Another option is Sunburst, on NC 215. I take it Davidson River is booked?

      June 11, 2014

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