It feels good to be home and not really training for anything. Saturday I went for a mini Pisgah ride: 276 > 477 > Clawhammer > Maxwell Cove > Black > Thrift Cove > Grassy Rd > Sycamore Cove. Just 14 miles.
Sunday I loaded up the dog and headed into the Blacks for a good old fashioned hike. I headed to a trail that has intrigued me for awhile: Big Butt. Starting from Mile Post 360 on the Blue Ridge Parkway this trail traverses the Brush Fence Ridge which is approximately one ridge West of Mount Mitchell and the Black Mountain Crest trail. I've been eying this trail on the map for awhile as it is a high ridge that would seem to be fairly remote and with a knob named Point Misery it has been on my to do list for awhile.
I didn't do the whole trail - I only went as far as the top of Big Butt (via a bushwhack, of course), saving the last knob and 1500' descent for another day - but what I did see was not what I expected but also did not disappoint.
There was active trail work going on. It looked to be contracted and was quite impressive. It was all hand done and was several miles into a rugged trail. They were tearing out old steps and putting in new ones as well as cutting drains into the trail.
There were hundreds of these 8' 8x8's that they were carrying by hand two miles down the trail. They probably weigh well over 100 pounds each and all two guys did all day was move them around.
Point Misery was anything but miserable. In fact, it was actually quite pleasant. The grade was gentle to get to it and the trail in great shape. Not much to see though.
The climb up to Little Butt was extremely steep for a short stretch. There was a long staircase built, without it this would have been a very tough 250' scramble. I have a hunch all the 8x8's they are staging are going to be used to rebuild this staircase that snakes up the mountain:
There was a nice look out at or around Little Butt:
Point Misery in the foreground and Mt. Mitchell in the background:
The rest of the Black Mtn. Crest:
After Little Butt there was an out of this world high rhododendron tunnel section that was unique and a real pleasure to walk:
Fall is coming:
A quick bushwhack up to the top of Big Butt was required to find this marker:
Big bears like Big Butts?