I finally made it into the Swannanoa Mountains last weekend to check out the trails around High Windy. My companions on the run were Yuri, Dave L. and of course Duma. It was an excellent run on a trail system that seems to be largely overlooked but is quite good.
It was all uphill to High Windy and we were all over dressed as it was much colder in Fletcher when we met so we stashed some of our bulky clothes near the top before continuing on to the highlight of the trip - High Top. There was a sing that said: "Warning! Trail is steep and dangerous. Proceed at your own risk."
I've seen signs like that before - such as the one at the West Ridge trail across the street in Montreat - and though trails are often steep I've never really considered anything dangerous before. High Top is rocky and steep enough that I do advise only taking it if you are comfortable with exposed scrambling. It is easy to see how it is considered dangerous.
I had thought High Top was an out and back but it turned out to be a loop that dropped us 1500' down a series of rock slabs that took us back to where we started. But our stashed clothes were still up near High Windy so back up we went, figuring out the correct sequence of trails to get us there as we went.
12 good miles and still plenty of trails we didn't do!
Some pictures courtesy of Yuri.
19 hours ago