Adventures in Pisgah

Saturday, July 16, 2016


It is hard to remember that just a few months ago I was busy riding bikes and running across mountains as now I seem to be spending my time floating across lakes and sliding down ropes on waterfalls. But summer is here and the time is right for playing in the water.

Last weekend's adventure found me in an exotic land where Edmund and I paddled an impossible distance across an enormous lake to a hidden cove where a pristine mountain stream tumbled into the lake. I parked my kayak on a stone and we spent the next few hours rappelling the waterfall and playing in the lake. The rappel was actually really good with a tight and technical top section and then a second pitch down into the lake that we determined could safely be jumped. After getting our fill we were faced with the impossible paddle back to the boat launch and were quite exhausted by the time the journey was over.








Sunday morning coming down and I find myself at yet another lake with Terri and not wanting to do much but lay back and enjoy the ride.


Friday, July 8, 2016

Saturday, June 18, 2016

mosquitos on the river

Last weekend was the Pisgah Nation Wilson Creek SWEaTfest but before the Saturday run I made a quick stop in Charlotte for the Dead and Co. concert. I had a drink or two in the parking lot but then had to limit myself to nothing but kool aide for the concert itself. The tour opening show was surprisingly good and much fun was had. After the show I was greeted by a huge traffic jam and wasn't going anywhere fast. The gentleman parked next to me kept trying to get me to keep drinking from his handle of whiskey but I had to decline as I had a two hour drive before my 8am run...


It was 1am before I left the parking lot and 3am before I was turning onto Brown Mountain Beach Road. Driving through the Wilson Creek Gorge at that hour was a surreal experience and when I got to the Harper Creek trail head I almost wanted to just tap the horn, shake the tambourine and keep driving. Instead I pulled in and managed to get a few hours of sleep before I woke to the sound of cars pulling in and knew the run would be starting soon. I got my stuff together and we all chatted for a few minutes before starting the run.

A steep climb up Yellow Buck Mtn. started the run and with the previous night's concert still ringing in my head I wondered what I was in for. The first half of the run would be mainly up hill with a few rollers thrown in for good measure and the first big highlight came on Little Lost Cove Cliffs where big views of Grandfather Mtn. abounded.


From there it was a little more trail and then a short stretch on a gravel road before starting down North Harper Creek trail.


From there I would be following the creek back to the finish where along the way I would pass by several waterfalls and the trail would go back and forth between nice and gentle single track to  very rocky stream side terrain as I crossed my way back and forth across the creek. I had stopped for awhile on Little Lost Cove Cliffs and then stopped to explore several of the waterfalls and figured I had to be the last runner out and tried to just keep moving. The previous day's festivities had me a little tired and as I started to get a little chaffing I felt like Black Peter and that the run might never end. I stopped to swim at a few of the waterfalls and let the rejuvenative powers of nature wash over me. The biggest waterfall came just a mile from the finish and was the perfect place for an extended break.

After the run we all sat in Wilson Creek drinking cold beer for a couple of hours. It was the perfect start to what is sure to be a long crazy summer. One Nation Under Pisgah!





Sunday, June 12, 2016

misery loves company

Last weekends adventures were interesting and not necessarily fun. Or maybe they were fun but just not the type of fun I was looking for at the time. Or maybe they were exactly what I was looking for. I don't even know anymore...

On Saturday I rode South Mills River trail out and back from Turkey Pen to Wolf Ford and fished along the way. South Mills River is probably the flatest trail in the area but is also arguably the most challenging. The trail leads users across uncountable river crossings through an impossible tangle of dog hobble, over plenty of dead fall and endless mud pits. As pleasant as that sounds the stretch of trail between Cantrell Creek and Wolf Ford is amazingly beautiful and a perfect place to try your luck against wild mountain trout.

As I wrestled my way through the trail I stopped at this serene spot and made a few casts. It didn't take long before a big brook trout hit my fly. It felt like my line got hit by a  brick and after a short fight I had caught and released my biggest wild trout to date. An amazing fish.





On Sunday Jon and I made an attempt at getting the band back together and met up for a fun run. We shuttled to Shope Creek from his house and then made our way up through Shope Creek to the Blue Ridge Parkway where we crossed over and bushwhacked our way to the top of Lane Pinnacle. That made for a lot of elevation gain in not a lot of miles. It also meant that the last three quarters of the run would all be downhill on the MST. That sounds great if you like downhill but I don't and the run quickly became a study in misery with me simply trying to survive.  The only other time I had been on most of that stretch of trail was during the FAC50k and interestingly after Rattlesnake Lodge I didn't recognize any of the trail from the FAC... Nothing lasts and after sufficient agony we dropped the final mile down through Haw Creek and back to Jon's house in east Asheville.


Saturday, June 4, 2016

it takes dynamite to get me up

Too much of everything is just enough.

Last weekend in pictures:













Wednesday, May 25, 2016

just fishing

I thought about running the Pisgah55 last weekend. I also thought about riding the 111. Then I thought better and decided to just go fishing instead. And so on Sunday when I went fishing I made sure I went up a creek where I was guaranteed not to see any racers and was unlikely to see any other users. I had a really good mountain bike to get there and then once I was at the old logging camp that was my destination I hung out for an hour or so and fished the hole behind the camp and made lunch on the centuries old stone furniture. Lunch was good and I actually caught a few fish before I reversed my course and headed to the Hendersonville Reservoir.

Once there I walked right down to the river and caught a nice hatchery fish on my second cast. I was only there fifteen minutes  during which time I caught several fish and noticed several groups of mountain bikers congregated up top. Nothing out of the ordinary for  a Sunday in May in Pisgah.

So, imagine my surprise when two frantic mountain bikers pull up  and ask "Which way do we go?" as I'm packing up my fishing gear.

"Where are you headed?" I reply.

"We are racing the 55," the younger one says.

He is on a single speed and looks familiar. It looks like Watts who I met at prar a few weeks before and I think maybe he is fucking with me. That is the sort of thing I might do after all. But then I look closer and see they have 55 number plates on their bikes.

It doesn't make sense. There is no reason a 55 rider should be at the Hendersonville Reservoir. I ask how they got there and they mention a steep descent and then a bunch of creek crossings. I check their cue sheet and it all comes together. They dropped Sassafrass off of Laurel mtn. down to Big Creek and were now ruining my fishing trip.

It really sucked for them as they were a long way off course and had been near the front. Backtracking up Big Creek would take at least an hour. There goes the race. But Watts, being the classy type, opted to reverse course and intercept other racers who had taken the wrong turn.

In the end I would drive three racers back to the finish from North Mills River and several more were riding down highway 280 as we passed them in the truck. It sounded like the course markings had been intentionally sabotaged to send racers as far off course as possible. I can't imagine a shittier thing to do. What is wrong with mountain bikers?