As always - No need to RSVP "No"
UPDATE 1/23 NOAA and the NWS are predicting Ice/Snow for the area on friday, 4-8 inches of fresh snow up in the mountains is a real possibility, along with the likelihood of the blue ridge parkway closing. We'll need to be on our toes and play it by ear. If an ice storm develops then the reality is that we may need to cancel. We won't know much until friday, but let's keep an eye on the weather.
Great Balsam Mountains Winter Trip. We'll use some connector trails and the Art Leob trail to access Shining Rock Wilderness/Cold Mtn area. Trip should total around 20-25 miles. It will hopefully involve very cold, snowy conditions. My current plan is to begin/end the hike from the Daniel Boone Boy Scout Camp.
Leave right after work Friday and drive the 5 hours to the trailhead. Immediately saddle up and hike a strenuous 5 miles to the top of Cold Mountain to establish a camp. Sleep a few hours and hopefully enjoy an incredible winter sunrise from the summit.
Saturday we'll put in around 13 miles, enjoying the beautiful vistas and exposed terrain of the Great Balsams (many spots are over 6000ft and I intend to do some peak bagging). We'll mostly be on the famous Art Leob Trl along the main ridgeline. Camp somewhere along the route, but I'm hoping to make it all the way to the summit of Sam Knob.
Sunday we'll return 9 miles mostly downhill via the Ivestor Gap Trl and Little East Fork Trl to the car/cars and drive back to Nashville (arriving late!)
More details will follow as we get a read on the weather. You should have previous winter backpacking experience!
I've never been to the Great Balsams before, so please be flexible. Questions? Ideas?