Weekend Trip Report Linville Gorge
Most all of my trip reports will be from a Friday night to Sunday afternoon.
In Early April of this year we headed into Linville Gorge for a weekend. We started on the east side and used two cars for a shuttle one at devil's hole and one at table rock. We came in at Devil's Hole Trail and hiked down to the river. This trail was difficult and is noted so on the map. At times it was hard to follow as I don't believe it was very well traveled so early in the spring. It was very steep at times and I think all 3 of us fell at least once on the leaves that were quite slick.
At the bottom of the trail was a wonderful campsite with room for several campers and plenty of places to hang from and we were lucky enough to have it to ourselves. It sat on a ledge about 25 feet above the river and had established fire rings and logs to sit on. We climbed down to the river and enjoyed it's rugged beauty and looked up to the rim from where we had hiked. We then cooked dinner and hung the bear bag just as the rain started. It rained hard all night and was accompanied by thunder and lightning. It continued into the morning and we were content to sleep to the sound of it until it died off around 10. After packing up camp we had to cross the river and started scouting for places to cross but could find nowhere to rock hop across or an easy place to wade across. We chose a the best spot we could find but the water was considerably high and quite cold. We crossed in spot that was chest deep and then got up onto a rock and hopped across to the other side. It was a fun challenge and we had to toss the packs in an assembly line as carrying them over our heads in chest deep and swift water just seemed a bit too daunting.
We hiked south on the LGT until we came to a wooden footbridge inbetween hawksbill mountain and tablerock that led to connoly cove trail. We hiked back to the east rim and then on to table rock. At Table rock there is a parking lot and established camping areas as well as non flush toilets. We camped there for the night. A few other campers shared a large established camping areas with plenty of places to hang from.
Being that it was early spring I was prepared for cold weather and while I don't have an underquilt I dressed in layers and had a ccf pad and hung my poncho under my hammock. My two partners were not as well prepared as me and when the incredibly strong and cold gusts of winds came out of the gorge and rushed over us (there were no leaves on the trees at this point) they froze. We guessed the wind to be blowing at at least 60mph. It was difficult to stand in the wind. They froze and I was at least comfortable though not warm. So for that I have to thank all the posters on this site for all their tips and knowledge of hammocking in cold weather.
The next morning I woke up 2 not so happy campers and we loaded our gear in the car and then hiked out to the Chimneys took in the views there and then up to the very top of Table Rock from which we could see the skyline of Charlotte. I was pretty excited about this as I have tried many time to see the skyline on clear days from the top of Grandfather but have not been able to catch it.
Overall a great trip in the Gorge for me and an educational one for my two hiking partners.