We arrived at the Pinch-In trail head around 10 in the morning on Friday, September 15th. Our intention was to hike down Pinch-In, turn north on the Linville Gorge Trail and camp somewhere between there and the Conley Cove Trail. We enjoyed a quiet lunch at the bottom of Pinch-In and then pressed on until around 2:30 or so, just taking our time picking our way up the LGT and enjoying our first time in The Gorge. We found a campsite about a mile south of the LGT/Conley Cove intersection, setup the hammocks and just relaxed for the rest of the daylight hours. Around dinner time, we heated up some water and re-hydrated some Southwest Lasagna from Hawk Vittles. For those of you that haven't tried meals from them, I highly recommend this one. It was amazing! Fast forward to bed time. We both got cozied up in out hammocks, she in a WBBB 1.7 SL, 3S Incubator and DIY Top quilt and me in a WBBB 1.0 DL, 3S Phoenix and 3S Burrow. It was the girl's first night in the hammock, but she said she slept great and slept very warm. We had temps down in the low 50's that night.
Day two started out with a light rain and another meal from Hawk Vittles. I learned that I don't really care for anything with re-hydrated egg in it. After we broke camp, we headed on up to the LGT/Conley Cove intersection and began the climb to the Conley/Rock Jock intersection. Not a bad trail, but it still took us the better part of 2 hours to make the climb out. We hit the RJ and headed south with the intention of camping at the Lost Dog camp site. Well, here's where things got stupid. I wish I could blame someone other than myself, but I completely missed that loop. We ended up doing the RJ all the way to the south trail head. For those of you that know...that trail is brutal on it's best day. While I found the trail mostly easy to follow, the number of down trees lead to constant cries of, "Godd**nit!!" or, "Mother **&$!!" and a few "Sonofa*$#!@!", as well as a few prayers to just get me and my girl through this. It was absolutely, 100% without a doubt the most demoralizing and humbling trail experience I've had. We ended up getting out around 7pm or so. It was a long day...much longer than we anticipated, but I was glad we got to do the loop we intended even though it wasn't on the schedule we had planned on.
Things I/we learned:
1. We will never use Pinch-In as an exit unless there is no other option.
2. Check your watch batteries before the trip.
3. I snore like a champ when in my hammock.
4. We will never hike Rock Jock in it's entirety again.
5. I've got the best girlfriend in the world.
6. I was/am absolutely amazed at the gorge and will be returning as soon as my schedule allows.
I know you guys have seen the sights before, but here's the ones we took. https://picasaweb.google.com/1155903...eat=directlink