Both of my sons serve in the Navy as combat search and rescue guys on helos. After both returned from deployments in the Persian Gulf they were able to get leave at the same time. This is a rare event so we planned a trip together. We met up at Linville Gorge. One son came in from Jacksonville Fl. One from Norfolk Va. and I drove in from Atlanta.
I loaned my Jacks r Better Bridge to one son, my Hennessy to the other and I used my Clark Jungle. The boys loved the hammocks and are now officially hooked on hanging!
Wednesday night we camped at the base of Hawksbill. We cooked steaks on the camp fire and stayed up late and I listened to my sons stories of their travels and adventures. Woke up early Thursday and drove to Spence Ridge to start the "southern loop hike". We hiked to the top of Table Rock for lunch and then continued on through the Chimneys and made camp at the top of Shortoff (where HB uttered the famous "is that the best you got" but thats another story! ) It was very windy as a cold front moved through. Temps dipped to the low 40's. We noticed that the leaves are just starting to change colors.
Friday we hiked south off Shortoff. The wind had calmed and the temp was cool. Perfect hiking. We forded the Linville River and made our way up the Mountains to Sea Trail to the unofficial Leadmine trail connecting to the Linville Gorge Trail. We made camp at a large site past the Pinch In Trail and below Shortoff for a nice calm evening and campfire. Listening to the river singing over the rocks. Temps in the mid 40's.
Saturday we continued on past Conley Cove and to the Spence Bridge. My son jumped off the bridge and went swimming. Not me! Too cold! . We hiked back to the truck on Spence Ridge and drove back to Hawks Bill and made camp.
Sunday I treated my sons to breakfast at Louises. Then drove to Linville Falls. We took a drive on the Blue Ridge Parkway and also to the Forrest Service Cabin, Wisemans View and basically relaxed and played tourist. Then back to Louises for a big dinner and Rhubarb Strawberry PIE .
Many thanks to the Gorge Rats who introduced me to this hike a couple of years ago. Especially Hawk-Eye, Ken, Hickery, Hangin Burrito, Running Feather. My sons loved this hike and said it was challenging, and one of the coolest places they have seen. They want to make this a annual event Attached are a few pics. (We took over 400!).