Just a brief post from a rough and tumble four day loop through some of western North Carolina’s most rugged and unforgiving terrain.
As summer waned, we kept an eye on the forecast leading up to the four day window we had pegged for the trip. Potentially cold, but no rain in sight. We planned to traverse the Wilson Creek and Lost Cove wilderness via a network of trails and gravel in the shadow of Grandfather Mountain and the Linville Gorge. Although we didn’t have a thorough route plan, the premise was to get deep into the forest, ride some unknown trails, camp amongst beautiful rocks and rivers, and beat ourselves up a bit. All of these were fulfilled, especially the latter. We had little to no intel on a couple of the tracks we tackled, one of which required about 20 river crossings and some bouldering, with bikes. But nonetheless, fun was had and nothing was broken.
Among other interesting things that are only experienced in the wild, we saw a squirrel take a swan-dive from a rock and proceed to swim across a river; Dustin ran over a fairly large copperhead; I accidentally caught my riding pants on fire; Dustin accidentally caught his fuel bottle on fire; and we overnighted at what both of us considered the ‘best campsite ever’.
Parked at a forest service road, we get the bikes packed up and ready to push up our first steep trail.
I was slightly frightened by the view from my tent in the morning as we camped along the ridge. ENO
, we can talk ad rights for a fair price.
Double-track ridge road eventually gave way to some pretty rugged singletrack.
Once we descended the ridge, we stopped for lunch and water on the river.
A stuffed bobcat at the Wilson Creek visitor center.
I tried out the Sawyer Squeeze filter, which weighs a scant 3 ounces, on this trip. I like it overall but had an issue with the rubber seal popping out and leaking occasionally. Maybe a user error as I got it right the last few times we stopped for water.
Small hints of things hanging on to summer.
This was basically our campsite front porch.
Sunset filtering through Lost Cove.
Another sunset shot.
Trying to stay warm by a nice fire.
Playing around with night photos.
The sunrise exposes layers upon layers of Appalachian ridgelines.
Interesting flora atop the cliffs.
Trying out my new Pinnacle Dualist pot, which fits perfectly in a 5L Big River drybag on a fork-mounted cage.
Dustin enjoying morning coffee on our temporary front porch.
Coming down the steeps on the Krampus. I was a bit more in self-preservation mode than D$. Those leaves can hide some nasty baby-heads.
My Mojo HD wasn’t quite made for carrying a load, although it performed rather well. Looking forward to a Surly ECR
Plenty of fall color on view right now.
Dustin must have ran over this guy laying across a spring on the trail. I am pretty sure it was a copperhead, although a little confused why he was laying in the water in cold weather. He was fairly big and didn’t seem all to happy when I pushed him aside with a stick.
Another lifeform hanging on to summer.
A quick stop at the tiny store in Mortimer, complete with wood-carved bear.
The Dirt Rag
flask is functional and pretty. P.S. Whiskey and hot chocolate is a delicious fire-side beverage.
I was a little jealous of Dustin’s Krampus on this trip.
Old circles, new circles.
On the way back, looking through some trees at a ridge we had ridden a couple of days prior.
Dustin contemplating which of the tastings to try first during lunch at the Olde Hickory Taproom.