There’s Rattlesnakes Among Us: Backpacking To Wolf Laurel Top

Brett (aka Therm Rider) and I start the hike at the Byron Herbert Reece Trailhead which gives us a bonus 1.7 mile hike this afternoon. We reach the Appalachian Trail after a gradual climb of 0.7 miles. After a mile descent, we meet up with Ken (aka Beer Run) at Neel's Gap. He's been watching our packs and the 20 bikers that rolled in to the parking area this afternoon. Bears are active and aggressive in this area. Parts of the Blood Mountain Wilderness have mandatory bear canister rules in … [Read more...]

Hard Labor Creek State Park – Campsite #2

Schools out in a week, so we decided to squeeze in one last camping trip with the kids before summer.  We had a total of 12 people (5 adults and 7 kids) - so a group site was a necessity.  A friend (and fellow Scout leader) recommended Hard Labor Creek State Park and we lucked out with an upgrade to Pioneer Campsite #2 - which was right on the water. Campsite #2 And to make things even easier, we were able to drive in to the site and unload right next to the picnic shelter. Scattered … [Read more...]

A Spring Hike To Coosa Bald (Via The Duncan Ridge Trail)

Sixteen years ago, The Ox and I did a winter ascent of Coosa Bald (4,271 feet) via a spur off the Coosa Backcountry Trail.  I remembered a few campsites scattered near the summit and decided to return via a much shorter route this time. Coosa Bald is located near (and approachable from) Vogel State Park, and we stopped at Neel's Gap a few miles South of the park.  The store was busy on this cool and clear weekend, and The Weasel snapped this photo of hiking boots hanging in the trees … [Read more...]

When The Weatherman Blows The Forecast (aka Our Epic Venture To Long Branch Shelter)

It is sunny when we leave Atlanta and the forecast is for temperatures in the 50's in nearby Franklin, N.C. But as we drive the 2 1/2 hours north to the Appalachian Trail we spot a line of clouds and a cold front pushing in from the Northwest. Mobile checks at the Weather Channel has the forecast in constant flux - and deteriorating quickly. The light rain projected to hit in the late afternoon arrives as snow and a winter advisory is issued for North Georgia and Western N.C. But we … [Read more...]

Hiking & Kayaking At Landsford Canal State Historic Park

I just spent a day over Memorial Day weekend hiking and kayaking in Landsford Canal State Park. Roger (aka The Camel) insisted that we get an early start and we launched and were on the Catawba River before 10am. Our plan was to spend the morning fishing, but after two hours on the water - we landed only a few small brim. So after taking a break on some submerged rocks in the middle of the river, we fought winds from the South and paddled back to the Park. Roger's determination to nab a … [Read more...]