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Album: journal:20070416

16 April 2007: day 66
Start Destination Daily Miles / Total
Elk Pasture Gap Beech Gap 24.6 / 828

Just getting to the trail was a lesson in foreshadowing. Driving up NC-151 to where I left off we could see the snow, ice, and wind. In fact we had to clear 3 downed trees from the road before arriving at the Blue Ridge Parkway. The Parkway was closed so NC-151 was gated. The wind was roaring and it was cold.

My destination was Beech Gap where NC-215 crosses and David could do a pick up. Being 24.6 miles south I was travelling fast and light and hiking up Little Pisgah Mountain at 7:50. There was about an inch of snow and lots of broken treebranches on the trail. I spent as much time with my eyes on the path as in the air at creaking trees ready to collapse on me. Fallen trees were an obstacle but not a big one - yet. I came in contact with the Parkway several times before reaching the Pisgah Inn where I ducked into the office to warm my face by the fire. Inside I was given a map of the local trails and met Allie Mullin (http://www.unc.edu/~amullin), a UNC photojournalism student who wanted a few photos of this cold hiker. She had a spinout in her car and I hope that is all resolved without too much cost.

Conditions were harsh enough that I considered calling David from the Inn to pick me up early at a different road crossing but I decided to continue as planned. The next 6 miles along the Buck Spring Trail confirmed my decision. It was at around 4000 feet on the lee side of the ridge in the sun. I made great time and was very happy. I'd only be a little late.

After another couple crossings of the Parkway I began to notice some problems. Some of the fallen trees were real problems to get by. The other big problem was that there was more uphill than I realized. I began to worry about reaching 215 by 8 o'clock let alone 7.

There was some really great trail and excellent views however. From the border of Shining Rock Wilderness I dipped back into National Forest and discovered Yellowstone Falls before a long ascent up Graveyard Ridge. Beyond Graveyard Ridge I was on borrowed time. It was after my pick up time and I still had five miles of blow down ridden soggy trail to hump down. To make a long story short I broke out onto 215 at dusk, almost 2 hours late, to find the truck still waiting. What a relief.

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Album created by album tool a script by David LjungSun Apr 8 12:17:08 2018



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