Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Boone Fork to Beacon

If yesterday was about the fall colors I guess today is about water. Both Sunday and Monday I've had to carry extra water to drink since sources were far apart. Not today. There was water everywhere. 

At 5AM this morning I was awakened by a gentle rain. There are really only two times I dislike rain while hiking. One is while I'm setting up camp and the other is while breaking camp. Neither activity takes more than about 20 minutes so all I need is a quick break in the showers. I feel back asleep and waited out the rain. After all I did about 28 miles yesterday so today should be an easy 20 or so I thought. 

Less than a quarter mile from camp I encountered Boone Fork. At first I thought it would be a rock hop but half way across I realized I was going to get wet. I finished the crossing in knee deep water. It actually did not feel all that cold and I was feeling good about all the fords I knew were ahead of me. 
I stopped after about a mile and had breakfast on a rock outcropping. I had walked down a side trail to Hebron Falls but I didn't find it all that impressive so I looked for a drier spot. 

I continued on the Boone Fork Loop for 3 miles before getting on the Tanawaha Trail. The trail started out pretty easy and past through pastures and open fields as it approached Grandfather Mountain. The closer I got to Grandfather the more I was sure Tanawaha meet roots and rocks. This is a difficult trail. Some parts are seldom used as it is somewhat over grown in sections. A few places I was only able to walk about 1 1/2 miles an hour. 

Late morning I stopped and talked to a couple from Rakeigh. They had been hiking a few of the trails in the area. They gave me the latest weather report. When I left I had expected a littl rain Tuesday and then cooled temps toward the end of the week. They said that had changed and snow was now in the forecast. 

I walked along and thought about the new forecast and decided to check the weather on my phone. I didn't see snow but I did see a 40% chance of rain for the next couple of days. What was more disturbing was the daytime high on Friday. It was only 38 degrees!  Yips. Now cold is one thing and rain is another but both together in the mountains of NC can spell disaster. So I started thinking about options. 

I could hike at least one more day but that would put me in the middle of Wilson Creek Wilderness where it would be hard to get out if I had to. I also needed to think about who could come get me. Then I remembered Trail Trash and his new bride were heading home from their honeymoon. I hesitated to call but decided to ask anyway. When he answered the phone his first words were "you need a ride?" Well it wasn't like I had rescued him off a trail before. He said it would be awhile and I said anytime will be okay with me. 

I slowed down my pace a especially enjoyed Rough Ridge. The views are spectacular on top. As I looked out at the landscape I could see the lead edge of the front moving in. 
Everyone I met was bundled up and several were talking about how cold it was and how it was going to get colder. I was comfortable in shorts and a long sleeve T-shirt. I don't know what the temperature was but this fellow was enjoying a nice spot in the sun. 
About 5PM I arrived at Beacon Heights and as always when I hike early I was second guessing my decision.  Well in two and a half days I had covered 57+ miles and I enjoyed some outstanding views. I also know that these mountains have been here thousands of years. They will be here when I can come back.