Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Hiking --always part of the Plan

 ...Continued  

 Gentle readers will recall that these two septuagenarians had gleefully agreed to host their attractive and preternaturally agile granddaughter for a Spring Mountain trip.  She reports:

The hiking went well. I even got the Grands to take off on a rocky, uphill 5 mile adventure and no one complained the whole time.


That complaining starts HERE with the uphill and rocky part. The trail to Russell Field Shelter is convenient to our campsite but it is a Horse Trail and Rocky and Uphill.








OK, not all of it.

   The powers had scribbled a note on the trail sign warning that the shelter was closed due to aggressive bears...ominous music here and sounds of PaPa planning an early turnaround...

Despite portending doom, some folks were having a great time...





Near lunch time, while eating snacks and keeping a weather eye out for marauding bears, we heard the Bear Attack Report from three AT hikers who spent the night at Russell Field with the park's bear expert and another Ranger.  It seems that folks who camp in their tents away from the shelter and keep a food supply handy should not be surprised when a bear snurfles about their tent fabric in the night.  Now when this happens -- and this is the important part -- don't kick the bear in the snout!

And, oh yes.  I think that hike was WAY over five miles...

Hiking on the Blue Ridge

Emilyn continues...


As the temperatures were dropping we decided to head to higher ground at the Mount Pisgah Campground off the Blue Ridge Parkway. There we found our first showers in four days (don't tell Mom) due to our wonky water heater. With our one full day there I was able to convince the grands to take a simple 2 mile stroll through the Frying Pan trail and up a road to get a view of the mountains from a fire tower. The view from the top was well worth it, but it was no casual walk to get there. We had ups and downs and rocks and narrow paths on the clearly seldom used trail. This was followed by a mile up the gravel road where we broke for trail mix and apple before the climb up 8 flights of stairs. We voted to take the road back to our camp where I fixed Snoopy Casserole in our own frying pan...


  

 The trail is named for the communal frying pan shepherds left hanging in a tree in the gap.







 We are nearly always overdressed to start a hike...it's a blood thinner thing...








Emilyn at work on the wonky water heater



After a brief stop at 4,980 ft we descended to Cataloochee for a potentially rain-filled week. Thankfully the forecast was wrong. We had beautiful days of fishing (well, more like casting practice) on the Palmer Branch and exploring trails to the Woody House, Palmer Chapel and climbing up the hill to see the Caldwell Cemetery. The rest of our time was filled with card games and cooking lessons.... I'm getting Meme and Papa in condition for their Maine trip with Anthony who I can only assume has more energy for trails and will want to play just as many games...

 

 Best trip ever, Emilyn



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