Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Salt Log Gap to Long Mountain Wayside

Today, I walked south and Gene walked north.  I got the better deal there.  Not only did I   have less total uphill, my climbs were broken up into 500 foot segments. Gene had his 2000 foot climb right at the beginning.  Additionally, I had outstanding views and he had almost none.  We met for lunch before he had hiked far enough to get my splendid views.

Stone Walls at Tar Jacket Ridge
There were great place names today.  I started out from Salt Log Gap with the climb up Tar Jacket Ridge.  Tar Jacket was sparsely wooded--there were more boulders than trees.  Descending down the other side brought me to an open meadow at Hog Camp Gap.  Because there is a spring nearby, this large open area is a popular camping spot.

Next came Cole Mountain.  This mountain actually goes by two names--Cole and Cold.  I found the geo-marker on the summit, but it didn’t give a name at all.  Cole Mountain is a bald which apparently got that way from cattle grazing.  The guidebook also indicates that a resort was planned for this expansive open mountain top, but the project was never started.  Much of the climb was along an old road that is now covered in grass.  The views were fantastic.

Hiking up Cole Mountain on an old road

Down the other side of Cole Mountain brought me to Cow Camp Gap.  Cow Camp Gap Shelter was six-tenths of a mile down a blue-blazed trail.  I didn’t want to add that much distance to my day, so I pressed on up the side of Bald Knob.

About half way up Bald Knob was when I ran into Gene.  He had spent his entire morning trudging up the other side.  We stopped for a lunch break.  Bald Knob is not a bald at all.  Seems like they got the names mixed up.  It had enough trees to prevent much of a view.  We noticed at this elevation (about 4000 feet) the trees were just starting to leaf.

Bald Knob
We finished our hike with that looong descent to Long Mountain Wayside.

Tomorrow, we’ll stay home with the Peanut and do a few chores.

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