When the occasion arises, I stop for lunch at a local Pub to have lunch and play Buzz-Time Trivia to keep my brain functioning. Over time I've come to know some of the local savants. While playing one day and sputtering about hammock hanging and hiking I mentioned the need to conquer Cold Mountain. To my surprise, two of my cronies said, "I'll hike it with you." And so the trip became real.
Both Darryl and John are newbs to hammock hanging but expressed an interest in trying it out so I agreed to outfit them for the trip
John is a local shoppe keeper so we got a late start on Saturday.
Darryl, John, and I, arrived at the trail-head with the intent of summiting the mountain and hanging there with a backup plan of camping at Deep Gap, time not permitting.
We set off on the Art Loeb Trail towards Deep Gap and Mother Nature blessed us with a short lived but heavy rain to set the tone.
The trail is lots of roots and rocks with some smooth patches so as not to totally demoralize hikers (Art was a sadist). The hike is ~4 miles and 1700' elevation gain to Deep Gap. It takes you through lush forest with beautiful wild flowers throughout. John and Darryl are both quite knowledgeable in the local flora and fauna, as well as the edible plants, so I got an education too.
We arrived at Deep Gap and decided to set up camp and summit in the early morning. The wind was a steady 20+ mph with higher gusts on the ridge so we chose to set up on the leeward side and thank God we did.
Following a memorable evening of good food, good conversation, several hours of star gazing, we turned in. There was a hellacious wind storm ~3AM which pulled all my stakes right out of the ground. (I had set Darryl and John up with their rigs running North-South so they would be protected on their first night in a hammock. This left me with only an East-West option but I kinda wanted to get the 'total effect' of the ridge and all it had to offer.)
Morning came and we grabbed a few supplies and set out to summit without our packs. The hike up is about a mile with another 950+ elevation gain.
The 'finger' outcropping.
A few rest stops to hydrate and take in the view of the Shining Rock Wilderness.
Victory is ours!!!!!!
It was cold and very windy at the summit.
We had to have 'a spot of tea' on the summit in celebration as John is a Britt. Thanking God and the mountain, for the gifts we received, we descended back to Deep Gap, gathered our gear and headed back to Camp Daniel Boone.
The ride back to H'ville was relatively quiet. HB once said, "A quiet ride home is a good thing and it's OK. You're just overwhelmed and processing the hike".
We arrived in town and had to have lunch with our favorite Angel, Amy. She's got a heart of gold and a smile that lights up the rainiest of days. We were greeted like heroes.
What a great weekend