Monday, June 1, 2009

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

A Case of the Mondays

When I didn’t have all the parts I needed at work today I had no choice but to make a run to the hardware store to pick them up. After that it seemed a little silly to go back to work so instead I picked up the bike and headed to the woods. I was curious to see the work that Valerie had done with PAS on Saturday so Laurel Mountain was the call of the day.

I did the unthinkable and drove all the way up to Yellow Gap. I can’t remember the last time I did that. My excuse was that I was still taking it easy on my groin muscle. I even told myself that I would turn around at Rich Gap but it was such a nice day and I felt so lucky to be riding Laurel on a Monday afternoon that I just kept going.







Posted by clay at 03:04:11 | Permalink | No Comments »

Monday, June 29, 2009

Turkey Pen Racing

After a full ten days off the bike I managed to get back in the saddle again this weekend. It was Dennis’s birthday and he was hosting a group ride from his house and then an after party on Saturday. It was a good group with all the members of the Wednesday Night Drinking Club making it out and Kristin came out as well which was nice. The idea was to do a dog loop first and then head back to Dennis’s for refreshments and then back out for a big ride. I decided to just do one ride and to take it easy which is just what I did. The dog loop route was:

Turkey Pen Rd. > South Mills River (out and back to Cantrell)

David George had parked at Smoker’s Cove and after much debate decided his best route back was: Wagon Rd. Gap > Turkey Pen Gap > Black Mtn. He said he didn’t pedal again after he left us until he hit Hickory Knob. I like his style! Zach seems to think that Turkey Pen is somewhat rideable in that direction and I am eager to do it again just to remember how painful it really is!

Yuri and myself pulled over for some horses on the trip back up South Mills and as we were getting ready to pull out again I got stung by a wasp right on my ear. It hurt and I was hitting myself in the head trying to make sure it was off me when Yuri saw that I was getting swarmed. Before I could run away I got hit three more times but Yuri had some Benedryl in his jersey pocket and other than being annoyed I was fine.

I opted to skip the second ride and decided to just tack on a little more as everyone else climbed back up to the road. I did Bradley > Riverside > Bradley. It was a fun, wet route and I managed to ride three of the Riverside crossings (which reminds me I need to drain the water out of my bike and do my hubs!). There was one spot with a lot of blow down so I took ten minutes and cut out all that my little saw could get and in the process made my trail work quota for the month.

I left my truck at the party on Saturday night so Sunday Terri, Duma and myself went to retrieve it. Seeing as how we were right at Turkey Pen we went for a little hike. Our route was:

South Mills River > Mullinax > No Name > South Mills River > 66 Jumps. It was hot and we stopped at the river to play for a little while. Duma likes to swim and it is good exercise for him in the heat.


What is this?


I consider it graffiti and offensive so I removed it.

Posted by clay at 13:13:04 | Permalink | No Comments »

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

A Day on the Green

I managed to make it through the entire weekend without touching a bicycle or my hiking shoes. The dog is pissed but my groin muscle feels a little better.

I met up with Jonathon Saturday afternoon for my first ever whitewater experience on the Green River in his canoe. When I pulled up to Fishtop I was surprised to see that the parking lot was full when only a few days earlier there had only been two cars. No worries though as it was hot and sunny and I was eager to get my first taste of a mountain river. Other than a few stops to play in the water and one stop to clean out the inside of the canoe* it was a rather uneventful but thoroughly enjoyable trip down the river. From what Jonathon said most of the rapids were class 1 except one that was class 2. Next time we vowed to tackle the Upper Green with 30 class 3’s in a row. Sounds like fun to me! I want a kayak but the last thing I have is time for another sport!


*We definitely didn’t tip the canoe!

Posted by clay at 00:33:03 | Permalink | No Comments »

Friday, June 19, 2009

The Disabled List all over again

Last night I had some thinking to do after work and I think best in the woods so I took Duma out to the Green River Game Lands to scout out the river for the canoe trip that I have planned with Jonathon on Saturday. We did Green River Cove Trail as an out and back and even though it was hot and buggy Duma still had a good time. The current was a little swifter than he was used to but he still couldn’t help but to go for a swim:


We made it to the Narrows and I had to wonder if we could take the canoe through it. From what I’ve seen canoes are wide and long and the Narrows are just that, narrow…. Of course we would never do something that foolish, or would we? Here is the exit of the Narrows:


During the hike the pain that I have been having in my groin just got worse and worse and eventually even the gnats that were swarming my head were a welcome distraction. When I got home I consulted webmd and from what I could tell I had a hernia. We all know that the internet is never wrong so needless to say I was rather bummed. So today I did the unthinkable and went to the doctor. After a little friendly groping he told me I did not have a hernia but instead a torn groin muscle and some tendonitis. So the internet was wrong which is disappointing but no surgery is a good thing!

I decided I had better ask what I can and can’t do to which he responded I could do whatever I want as long as it doesn’t hurt. That was a little vague for me so I asked about the canoeing the Green and he said he didn’t see why not. Then I asked about a 50 mile bike ride on Sunday to which he said “Why in the world would you do something like that?” My response was “Because it is fun, of course.” Being the smart doctor type he said I shouldn’t do anything for at least a week and then I should reevaluate.

He gave me some steroids which I’m concerned are going to interfere with my strict doping regime but plan on taking anyway. He also gave me a script for some painkillers which I accepted unlike when I broke my hand and wasn’t interested in purchasing any add-ons. So, there it is, I’m disabled once again.

Wednesday was the Drinking Club and it was a lot of fun. Yuri made it and we chatted a lot about hiking and ultralight backpacking. Steve Stickle came out and was riding some super funky bike that he built but I didn’t have a chance to talk to him about. Jonathon put together a great route with the exception of Ridgeline which although a fun climb I do not at all enjoy as a downhill. It seems like everyone is crazy about it but I just do not care for it. It tries too hard and twists and turns too much.

After the ride we took a quick dip in Fawn Lake which I can’t believe I hadn’t done before. The water was deep and warm and I think I will spend the entire summer laying on the dock! Then seeing as how a few members of the Club had some big news a bottle of the finest champagne appeared and we stood around the parking lot celebrating. Congratulations!!!


Tuesday after work I headed up to Asheville to meet Terri at Carrier Park. Being a madwoman she has signed up for a triathalon and borrowed a bike from a friend for the event and we planned on setting it up for her and taking it for a test ride. First she had some running stuff to do so I spent an hour riding in circles in the mellowdrome. It was hot and I’m not sure if it was fun but I think it might have been. I got a little dizzy and decided that was enough. We got the bike set up for her and she did a little pedaling and did a great job with the clipless pedals. That’s my girl!

Posted by clay at 21:27:11 | Permalink | No Comments »

Monday, June 15, 2009

Down the Road

Where was I in this interior dialogue? Oh, yes, no drinking club last Wednesday, Phish show instead. Lots to tell there but that is a whole other blog… So Thursday comes and I feel the need to ride a bike and that is exactly what I do - an after work roadie. On the way up to Jump Off it started raining and then it started full on dangerous thunder storming so I turned around and high tailed it back home. Straight up hwy 25 through town in a raging storm. What do you consider fun?

Friday I was sort of feeling uneasy all day. I wanted to do something all day, but not just anything and whatever it was I wanted it to be productive. It had been an odd week for me without a whole lot of work done and I guess I was feeling it. But my plan had been to take Duma out for a trial backpacking trip with the gear that I have recently been acquiring so that is just what I did. We started from the Fish Hatchery and our ultimate route would be:

Cat Gap > John Rock > Cat Gap > Horse Cove Rd.

Of course that requires some sort of explanation so let me explain. We had planned on stopping early and setting up camp and I passed by many a fine campsite as we worked our way up to Cat Gap but it was still early and we had plenty of time. At least that is what I thought. We reached Cat Gap at 7pm and I was surprised by how small and tight of a gap it is, the name was fitting and without a proper campsite I pressed on. I was ready to stop for the night, just waiting for a campsite, and was surprised when one didn’t come. When we hit the intersection with John Rock I knew there were several campsites within a half mile on down Cat Gap but couldn’t remember if there were any up John Rock. I figured there had to be some up on the ridge so up we went. By this point there was very little time to waste and even less daylight so I only paused briefly at the rock to snap a pic, sunset was only minutes away and the light was harsh to say the least:


We kept on trudging up the ridge and I was very happy when there was a campsite on top of the first knob just up from the rock. I made quick work of setting up camp and didn’t really pay much attention to how close together the trees were until the work was done. It didn’t rain so it didn’t matter but next time I know what to look for.


By this time it was 9pm and getting dark fast. I checked our water and was dismayed to find that there was less than 3ozs left. Not enough for the big yellow dog and not enough for my dinner. So, I had no choice but to backtrack all the way back down John Rock to get some water. There were lots of standing puddles but I was traveling light and fast and had bleach instead of a filter and had to pass them up to go all the way back down to running water. A big mistake that added a few miles to the already longer than anticipated hike. So by the time we made it back to camp it was late and dark but didn’t really matter and we had a fine time just hanging out and all kinds of stuff. Duma slept under me to start but then around 3am he woke up and felt the need to guard the camp until sunrise, so it was a restless night to say the least.

On the hike out we stopped to check out the rock in the morning light:


Somebody had left this sleeping bag up at our campsite so I had no choice but to carry it out. It was as big as my pack and weighed almost as much:


By the time I made it home it was only 10am so after a little piddling around I went out for a little road ride. i worked my way down to Saluda and then back up to town through the watershed. I had forgotten that there was a Ceaser’s Head Century ride going on so when I saw Cook and Cissy coming from the opposite direction I was a little surprised. Then I saw the rest stop and all the other riders and it made sense. Then it stormed on me again.

So on Sunday morning the dog had forgotten about Friday’s excitement and was itching for a walk and got just that. Where else but Pisgah? Out and back:

Buck Spring > Mountains to Sea > Barnett Branch


After that I get home and it still isn’t noon which meant that if I didn’t want to feel lazy I had to go out for a road ride. Jump Off Rock, Big Willow, etc.. Good for a few hours of spinning…

I didn’t touch a mountain bike all weekend and am not sure I am sad about that.

Posted by clay at 03:12:04 | Permalink | No Comments »

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Backwards Down the Number Line

I met up with Jonathon and the dogs last night for a nice little Jones Gap after work dog walk.

Rim of the Gap > Connector > Pinnacle Pass

As I was dropping my two dollar bill in the box I was thinking if I keep heading down to SC State Parks I might as well buy a pass. But then as we started climbing I noticed that it was rather hot and muggy out and realized that perhaps Jones Gap is better left alone for the summer. It was still a nice walk, I was moving slow with no real desire to run - I guess I should have told Jonathon that before we started. Oh well, D-Man is tired today:


No Drinking Club for me tonight. I’m headed to Knoxville to check out the Phish show. I spent many years following Phish around and these days I’d rather be playing in the woods than at a concert but I have tickets so I might as well go….

Posted by clay at 15:18:30 | Permalink | No Comments »

Monday, June 8, 2009

Weekend Recap

Friday: +/- 25 mile after work roadie. Went up to Jump Off Rock via Summersby Park. It was the steepest stuff I have ever ridden a bike up and not necessarily something I want to repeat.

Saturday: Terri had decided to do some sort of half marathon that started at 6am at Ridgecrest which made Kitsuma at Dawn just too tempting to pass up. Not only would I be getting a killer ride but I would also be be getting bonus good boyfriend points by being there for the start of her race:


The start was out the back gate of Ridgecrest right next to the Kitsuma trail head so within two minutes of this picture being taken I was knee deep in the Land of a Dozen Switchbacks climbing my way up Kitsuma. It was dark and I had to briefly flip on my led bar light as I was climbing to the top. It is not often that I am out on the bike before the sunrises and the dawn ambiance put a nice spin on the ride. My mind kept flipping back to day two of the Double Dare races. It was foggy and threatening to rain at any second but it slowly got lighter and lighter outside and eventually I thought that the sun had risen but because of the heavy fog I couldn’t see it.


Somewhere along the way as I was topping one of the fingers I heard some big noises in the bushes and then two bears ran across the trail in front. A mom and cub - my first bears of the year. Then as I hit the final ridge the sun rose through the fog:


Then I flatted. There is something a little eerie about being out in the woods at 6:45am and changing a flat tire. Or maybe it is just me… But I got it changed and shortly after that I hit old 70 and was climbing my way back to the start. Somewhere along the way I started to do the math on how long it should take Terri to finish the race and I realized that my math was wrong the first time and she should be finishing 30 minutes earlier than I had thought. This meant that unless I was really fast or she was really slow I was going to miss her finishing. Oh, well not much I could do about it at that point. I hurried but still had to stop to take a picture at the overlook:


Saturday afternoon and Duma was ripe for some adventure so I tried to pretend that I was not tired and we loaded up and headed for the Shining Rock Wilderness. We did Big East Fork as an out and back to Greasy Creek and it was swell. Someplace I had never been, gladly beyond any experience.





Sunday: Pisgah bike ride.

1206 > 5000 > Bear Branch > 5001 > 5000 > Spencer Gap > Spencer Branch > Hendersonville Reservior Rd. > North Mills River > Fisherman’s

Not much to report, just a quick fun little ride. Lots of forest users out including a pair of equestrians going extremely fast into one of the N. Mills river crossings. Running a horse into a river crossing probably isn’t a good idea, especially if your horse spooks easily. Lots of water in the woods. Several of the crossings were waist deep. No Trespassing signs are up at Fisherman’s.

Posted by clay at 19:32:06 | Permalink | No Comments »

Friday, June 5, 2009

Living for the Weekend

Is it Friday yet? Did I really work all week?

Without a decent compact camera it is hard to know what is what and why and what for, but as far as I can tell the work week went something like this:

Tuesday after work ride. Jump Off Rock at a fast clip. Fun.

Wednesday Night Drinking Club. Parked at Lake Imaging:
Lake Imaging Rd. > Jim Branch > Issac Heath > Buck Forest > Conservation > Bridal Veil Falls Rd. > Corn Mill Shoals > Laurel Ridge > Mine Mtn. > Fawn Lake Loop > Reasonover Creek > Lake View Loop > Camp Summit > Conservation > Airstrip > Shelter Rock > Conservation > Buck Forest > Lake Imaging > Locust Trail > Issac Heath > Jim Branch

Thursday. Jones Gap Dog Walk. Rainbow Falls:


Posted by clay at 03:02:28 | Permalink | No Comments »

Monday, June 1, 2009

Here Comes Sunshine

Friday: Road bike
+/- 25 miles

Saturday: Mountain Bike
1206 > Laurel Mtn. > Parkway > Big Creek > Hendersonville Reservoir Rd. > Fletcher Creek > Never Ending Rd. > Spencer Branch > Trace Ridge > Fisherman’s

Good stuff. Not much to speak of other than a good crash on the Gnome section of Laurel. I somehow hit a rock or something and took a nice tumble off the trail. I hit some rocks and some rocks hit me.

Sunday: Dog Walk
Mountains to Sea > Buckeye Gap > Haywood Gap > Parkway

We headed out early this morning and managed to do the Middle Prong Wilderness loop without a hitch and were even back at the truck before noon. We did it the opposite direction from which we did a few weeks ago and navigating it was not an issue though I did keep the compass out for most of
Buckeye Gap trail. We eventually made it to the spot where we got turned around last time and it was clear that it is a tricky spot to negotiate. However if my compass would have been correct and if visibility was not so poor I think I would have managed to put it together.



Here’s what looked to be an old game cart, long abandoned miles short of the parkway. I wonder if what it was carrying ever made it out:



It won’t be too much longer before this old rail road bridge is long gone:

Posted by clay at 02:20:16 | Permalink | No Comments »

No comments:

Post a Comment