At about 6:45 AM we left the Boone's Fork Overlook parking lot to hike to Calloway Peak on Grandfather Mountain. On the Tanawha Trail there is a bridge across the creek. The light was still dim, but the foam of the rapids almost seemed to glow in the pre-dawn light.
Here comes the sun projecting magenta hues across the clouds.
The sign was ~0.7 mile in from parking. It is the easiest approach to the mountain.
Where the trail gains the ridge there are large boulders which afford a good view of the valley below and the Boone's Fork Creek draw. My daughter caught the guys looking fresh for the hike ahead.
She had planned the hike and was ready for whatever, rain if necessary. The forecast called for showers at 9 AM. We were blessed with none all the way to the top and good views besides. She seemed to thoroughly enjoy herself.
I have been amazed this year how healthy and growing the fir trees are.
The next picture gives me a little chuckle. I could swear that they appear to be posing for an outdoor clothing advertisement or travel log.
Stories of past adventures, accomplishments, and mishaps always make the time go by faster. Is it a yarn or a real-life adventure Mr. S?
The trail was a frozen creek in places.
These mountains have to be respected. Storm and cloud and miscalculation can be fatal as someone found out in 1978. It is sad that this has happened many times over the years.
Moss doesn't seem to mind ice as long as there is continuous moisture.
There are fewer and generally shorter ladders on this side of the mountain. One other ladder was quite treacherous with ice though.
A little break in the trees reminds us of the populace below.
A view toward the southwest and MaCrae Peak.
Calloway Peak is just over there says he as he surveys the valley munching on a snack.
I wanted a picture with all of us together, but who was to take it? I nestled my gloves and phone into some branches of a fir tree. Of course, my aim was undiscernible, but we all got in the picture.
A view north into Virginia. We feel confident that we could see Mt. Rogers to the northeast.
The old guy, happy to still be coming along with the younger crew.
Is there such a thing as perfect rot? I know some of you may say you've heard it, but have you ever seen it?
I pre-fir bark. Oh, not really. I think Spruce bark is nicer looking.
Strolling down the muddy trail one day, I spied a solid bolt of lightning, say, what could it be, but a quartzite dike intrusion, see, in the middle of the muddy trail.
Galax is an evergreen understory plant that has a strong astringent smell when the sun dries it out. The winter color of the leaves is, how should I say it, almost haunting. I guess the old leaves remain on and do some little photosynthesis until the Spring leaves arrive.
There are two varieties of ground cedar in these parts. One has flattened leaves and the other has rounded leaves. Both indicate poor soil quality because they can outcompete other species on nutrient poor soils.
They are not cedars but clubmosses, and thus they reproduce via spores rather than flowers or cones.
Same creek 5 1/2 hours later
Once again a challenging and pleasant hike. God gave us health, companionship, and no more than light rain and drizzle. We should make a point to be thankful regardless of the circumstances, because God is good and provides so much for us. And even more so our Creator is worthy.
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