View Full Version : Back from Shining Rock.

Earl Grey
03-11-2007, 00:22

Link above is for the bells and whistles with videos.

I got back from Shining Rock the other day and I’ve been sorting pictures and videos to put on the site. I got to the boy scout camp around noon on Friday and was on the trail shortly after that. From here it’s about 5.3 miles to the top of 6030 foot Cold Mountain. Since it’s winter you can see pretty much the entire surrounding landscape from different points on the trail.The climb is tough to the top is tough but worth it. I came upon the world famous spring about 2/3 the way up and drunk straight from it. This is probaly the best water I’ve ever tasted. It was so fresh and cold it made my teeth hurt. The views were excellent and at the summit it felt as if you were “floating” because youre so much higher than the rest of the land. It’s hard to explain. I set up camp in Deep Gap and while I was setting up my tent this older guy came up and he seemed to be out of breath. He explained to me he ran out of water so I offered him some since I had at least 4 liters that I got from the spring but he didn’t take any. His partner came up later and they went to look for water but the closest source was probaly that spring. They didn’t make it that far since it was close to dark so I ended up giving him some of mine and then we started talking about the trail.
The moon was almost full which made for a nice light so we looked at it for a while then I went to sleep. It was so windy at this place which we got to talking about and concluded that since its lower in elevation than the surrounding area the wind gets “funneled” through here. During the night the wind was so bad that the stakes got pulled from the ground which caused the fly to whip in the wind. I woke up a couple times and finally got up at 7:30 to make something to eat. A little while after I got up the other guy Jason got up. The wind was just as powerful as during the night which made for breaking camp difficult. I said bye and went on towards the Narrows. This place (ridge) was awesome but frightening at the same time. The wind had still not let up and I had to balance myself in order to not fall on either side of the ridge. This video demonstrates what I mean.

Most of the water sources were frozen but I did find some in a liquid puddle after the Narrows. I made it to “Spaghetti Junction” at around 1pm and decided to stay here until tommorow.
http://www.2000togo.com/wp-content/uploads/2007/03/img_1170.thumbnail.jpg (http://www.2000togo.com/wp-content/uploads/2007/03/img_1170.jpg)
I left my pack in this open area and went to the top of Shining Rock, still the wind very strong. There wasn’t anyone else around at this time so I had the whole mountain to myself which was a cool thought. This video was taken at the rocks outlook not the “true” summit.

I set up camp about 20 yards from Spaghetti Junction and met a few people and we talked about the eclipse. A boy scout troop said they were going to the top to watch the sunset and then the moonrise so I went with them but after a few minutes it was obvious that from the way we were facing we wouldnt see the moonrise. So from here I went to the “other side” that faced east to wait for the moonrise. I came upon an open laurel field where I could see the sunset and moonrise at the same time. It felt like the beach in the way that on the Atlantic the sun sets over land and the moon rises over the water since youre looking east to see it. This had the same effect.
It started getting dark so I headed back down to camp using a headlamp to guide the way. It’s amazing how dark it can be in woods where there is no artificial light. By the time the moon came up the eclipse was pretty much over but I did get some really bad pictures. The sky was very clear moreso than at lower elevations. I could make out the milky way among other constellations and heavenly bodies normally unseeable.
I got in my sleeping bag around 8pm and went to sleep, sleeping rather good and only waking up a couple times. When it was time to get up the temperature was 10 degrees outside my tent and 15 degrees inside my tent. Not only did the temperature bottom out but it was blowing snow! I wanted to just go back to sleep but it was time to get up and face the day so I got up and made something to eat and walked around trying to keep warm. All of my water froze solid during the night so I shook one of my water bottles until finally some of it turned liquid. I put the liquid into the Jetboil to get it warm then I put it back in the water bottle to thaw the rest of the ice. I finally got enough water to make grits and hot chocolate. The snow was starting to accumulate on the tent so I broke camp and went down to lower elevations. It’s amazing how much the weather can be different with only 1000 foot diffence. I went back to the boy scout camp on the Little East Fork Trail stopping at the creek to get some water. I made it back to my car right before noon with sunny skies.
Funny video of hiking on the Art Loeb trail. I almost bust my ass at the end.

Cold Mountain Summit.

All the pictures. (http://www.2000togo.com/photos/album/shiningrock/)

03-11-2007, 00:58
Nice pix, Blackmath. The frozen creeks and the dusting of snow made the ten degree temps worthwhile. Shining Rock is a great place to visit in any season.

ed bell
03-11-2007, 01:58
I was waiting for this! :cool: Looks like you had a great time. Nice pictures. Thanks for the update.:sun Link it to your other thread. Thats where I have been looking.

03-11-2007, 12:38
I love the Shining Rock area. Already miss it after moving back to GA to prepare for my thru in 6 days. I'm surprised that the Blue Ridge Parkway wasn't closed so that you could get there. Then again, perhaps you snuck in on a different road?

One time I tried to make it all the way back to Cold Mountain, but I lost the trail into the Wilderness, after you pass that huge rock that would be great to climb on the left. If only I had a map or GPS at the time. I agree about the wind there too. I can remember walking over Shining Rock my first time out there with my old 50lb pack and seriously having to work to stay upright. Have also lost tent stakes camping on a ridge at Graveyard Fields. Violent nature just gives even more character to this area, and it's probably my favorite in WNC.

03-11-2007, 13:02
Sounds like a great trip. The Shining Rock Wilderness is somewhat "sacred" to me, since it was there that I learned the joy of backpacking back in the 70's. I've made several trips to Cold Mountain, but not in many years. You make me want to go back - I think I will!!!

I always remember the Narrows. I felt like I was walking along a knife blade. With all the wind you experienced I am sure it was intense.

Thanks for a great trip report.

03-11-2007, 14:53
Where's Spaghetti Junction? I can't remember it or it being on the map.

ed bell
03-11-2007, 15:54
Where's Spaghetti Junction? I can't remember it or it being on the map.I think he is refering to Shining Rock Gap. There are 5 trails that intersect there, and if someone is unfamiliar with the area, it is easy to get confused.

Earl Grey
03-11-2007, 22:51

Yeah thats where im referring to is Shining Rock Gap. If youre coming from the north on the AL you have to CROSS the meadow to continue on it. If you stay on the same "trail" youll be going to the horse trails! So easy to get lost and disoriented right here.

03-11-2007, 23:22
I am sooo jealous.

03-11-2007, 23:27
Spagetti junction is the best name for that area I have ever heard.
I only know where two of those trails go.

gold bond
03-12-2007, 17:45
I know of Ivester Gap, is that in the same place as what you refer to as Spagetti Junction? Either way were you able to go see the falls? I love that area and have been there several times. When the blueberries are in season the fresh pancakes are the best!

Tha Wookie
03-12-2007, 18:16
awesome. ready to go. lock and load.

03-13-2007, 01:35
I think the spot you camped at near "Spaghetti junction" (shining rock gap?) is where I usually camp. Did you have any wind there? I found that side of the hill is usually sheltered, but you can hear the wind above in the trees!
I'm asking because I'll be there next week. I usually carry a heavy tent that is good in the wind, but I'd like to try a light tarp (not so good in the wind) this time.