Friday, September 1, 2017

Blue Ridge Mountains-Duggers Falls/Duggers Loop Trail

Normally I wouldn't even consider bothering doing a post on such a short trail, but this trail is mentioned among the 58 or so North Carolina trails in the Blue Ridge Parkway Outdoor Guide. Everyone's ability isn't the same and what may seem like just a leg stretcher to me is all someone else may care to walk. Duggers Falls is at the same location as the Linville Falls (mile post 316.4). Starting at the restrooms and gift shop turning left (yellow arrow pointing the way) the Duggers Falls is a small creek waterfall, and in comparing it to the Linville Falls, it's like a tadpole to a whale. 

One of a few placards along the trail of quotes by someone about nature.This one I particularly like.

Just as the sign says, it's a 20-minute walk.

The bridge over Duggers Creek

Nothing much to look at but was a relaxing sound.

This was the return bridge back to the Jeep. Aaron is helping mom steady herself on the rocks.

Wednesday, August 30, 2017

Lee & Vivian Reynolds Greenway

Traveling on US 321 (Blowing Rock Road) turn on Boone Heights Rd then right on State Farm Rd then a left on Hunting Lane which will take you to the Greenway's parking lot on the left side of the street.

There are three bridges. The Covered Bridge, Middle Bridge, and End Bridge as they are called.

Just before the Covered Bridge is a marshy area with lily pads and flowering plants.

  The Middle and End Bridges are identical and this is what they look like.

The view of the South Fork New River from the End Bridge.

1915-1924 this dam supplied electricity to Boone, and in 1924 dynamite couldn't even demolish the dam completely.

The greenway dead ends at Casey Lane near the water treatment plant. This side of the greenway is easier to access from US 421/221 by turning on New River Hills Rd. Turn left on Casey Lane, and you will see the parking area.

Tuesday, August 29, 2017

Elk Knob State Park-Summit Trail

Elk Knob State Park is a 1100 acre mountain state park with a picnic area, hiking trails, backpacking campsites, an amphitheater, and restrooms. Elk Knob via the Summit Trail is the main attraction with a trail rating of "Hard" because you continuously climb for nearly 1000 feet to reach the panoramic view from the cleared knob at 5520 feet. 

We were all smiles at the beginning, but it didn't take long for the Summit Trail to wipe that off our faces.

Unusual to see that many Shelf Mushrooms on a tree.

One of several rest stops we took. The trail is well maintained with rock steps that aided our ascend in the particularly steep portions of the trail. 

The Summit Trail wasn't no "white dot " trail but a blue diamond with many switchbacks. At a little more than a mile, Kelly decided she had enough, so Aaron didn't want mom to be alone, so he escorted her down the mountain while Gypsy and I continued to the top.

At the 1-mile post, the trail does a switchback at a clearing, and you have this view. Someone had said to us if you think you can't make it the rest of the way this would be a good place to turn around. 

 Finally, I made it to the top 5520 feet above sea level.

I have seen many impressive views while hiking the Blue Ridge Mountains, and this is just as beautiful as any of those were. Elk Knob and the Summit Trail is truly a classic North Carolina hike, and a must do if you're visiting Boone.

Site B1 at the KOA campground in Boone, NC. We enjoyed our stay here and will return next year.

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Linville Falls

'If water had adventure parks, Linville Falls would be Six Flags over North Carolina" is what Joe Miller the author of  100 Classic Hikes In North Carolina said about this place. Well, it certainly ranks among the "must see" falls.

 At this, location it's called "Erwins View" of the Linville Falls.

The Upper Falls.

You have the Upper Falls then you have the narrowing of the stream between the boulders that is rapidly falling which is called the Chimney, and the final fall is what you see in the first picture. 

Gorge View. That is a very long ways down.

From the Visitor Center you walk 0.4  miles to the Upper Falls, then another 0.2 to the Gorge View and another 0.2 to Erwins View. This is all up hill with an elevation gain of 145 feet.

 On our way back crossing the bridge just before the Vistors Center we see a fisherman fly fishing. 

Aaron and I have seen many waterfalls and the Erwins View was impressive, but this was somewhat of a letdown due to the fact everything was fenced off. It was all look but no play. Even Gypsy keep tugging at her leash wanting to wade and take a drink in the water but fences and sign telling us "do not go beyond this fence $5000 fine or imprisonment" kept that from happening. 

Monday, July 17, 2017

Blue Ridge Mountains-Fryingpan Trail

At the entrance of the Mount Pisgah Campground is the trailhead of the Fryingpan Trail.

Started about 8:50 in the morning and returned to this same spot at around 12:15 PM.

On a hike like this, I wish I would have something other than a phone camera or a phone with better quality picture capabilities. All these flowering plants were more gorgeous seeing them with the human eye. I can only identify about two, and that would be the Tiger Lilly & Mountain Laurel. I just guess some of the other flowers are maybe Azalea, Dogwood and White Snakeroot.

Can you spot the Mountain Tree Monkey? This part of the trail is a plateau of 5180 feet. We soon descend down to the to the Fryingpan Gap.

After a mile hike through the narrow thick vegetation, it empties out at the Fryingpan Gap onto Forest Service Road 450. Here we take a sharp right and start to ascend to the Fryingpan Fire Tower. It's one of the most impressive views I have ever seen, though the surrounding area with some buildings and weather tower wasn't pretty to look at. But being at a height of  5721 feet plus on a fire tower, the view is priceless. The 6030-foot Cold Mountian to the West looks majestic.

Mountains are so beautiful!

We never had to use bug spray, and Aaron was able to cool off by taking his shirt off and using it as a bandana.

We made it back to our campsite at lunch time, then we spent the rest of our day wading or swimming at the Yellowstone Falls.