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  1. #1

    Default Back in the Saddle - a Hiker once again

    So, My dad and I used to hike/backpack....then I went off to The Corps... then college..... Then I did some more backpacking.... then I had kids..... Then I kayaked, climbed, trail ran and worked my ass off.

    And now I'm back. Things come full circle. I wanted to get my 17 yr old son on a trip and we planned a one for this weekend for him and I and one of his buddies. So I dragged out all my gear and bought a new purifier and toiled over the maps (I love maps).

    I chose Grayson Highlands for a trek this weekend for the three of us plus my year old Rhodesian Ridgeback pup .

    Well, the weather has turned snotty and I didn't want his first real backpack trip to suk, so I'm postponing.

    living just south of Charlotte I thought Grayson would be a good choice due to the variance of topography (balds, outcroppings, orchards, etc). Now that the rain has given me more time to consider things; does anyone have a recommendation of a nice overnighter that will give a few teens an epic trip to get them hooked??

    Any help appreciated.

    Cheers,
    Brad

  2. #2

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    Hard to beat the Grayson Highlands. Consider an overnighter doing the loop beginning at the overnight parking lot in the park, take the access trail to the AT, cut across the Pine Mountain Trail and then back on the AT and back to your car. If time permits add on the up and back to Mt Rogers.

  3. #3
    Registered User
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    Default

    I did 603 40 miles back to Damascus last winter... My favorite section thus far...want to take my 8 year old this spring...my


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  4. #4
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    My dog had blast w the ponies


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  5. #5
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    Grayson Highlands is a great choice. By coincidence, I did a Damascus-Grayson Highlands hike back in early April with my brother in law, who also lives south of Charlotte. He had not been backpacking since the '70s, he had to start all over buying all his gear. We had a great trip. I'm sure others here can suggest other good overnighter hikes for you. Nice thing about Grayson Highlands State Park is you can safely park your vehicle there in the backpacker parking area and do any of several loop hikes, and have access to your vehicle at end of the hike without hitching rides or shuttles. Good luck!

  6. #6

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    Hard to beat Grayson.....use the park's overnight lot and hike to Old Orchard and back. Great views, ponies are wonderful.
    "Tell me, what is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life?" - Mary Oliver

  7. #7

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by FlyFishNut View Post
    So, My dad and I used to hike/backpack....then I went off to The Corps... then college..... Then I did some more backpacking.... then I had kids..... Then I kayaked, climbed, trail ran and worked my ass off.

    And now I'm back. Things come full circle. I wanted to get my 17 yr old son on a trip and we planned a one for this weekend for him and I and one of his buddies. So I dragged out all my gear and bought a new purifier and toiled over the maps (I love maps).

    I chose Grayson Highlands for a trek this weekend for the three of us plus my year old Rhodesian Ridgeback pup .

    Well, the weather has turned snotty and I didn't want his first real backpack trip to suk, so I'm postponing.

    living just south of Charlotte I thought Grayson would be a good choice due to the variance of topography (balds, outcroppings, orchards, etc). Now that the rain has given me more time to consider things; does anyone have a recommendation of a nice overnighter that will give a few teens an epic trip to get them hooked??

    Any help appreciated.

    Cheers,
    Brad
    Quote Originally Posted by RADHiker View Post
    Hard to beat Grayson.....use the park's overnight lot and hike to Old Orchard and back. Great views, ponies are wonderful.
    just wanted to say to whiteblaze

  8. #8
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    Default

    Feels good ha? You betcha. IMHO, you are doing just fine. Great choices! ENJOY with your son.

  9. #9

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    I spent one day in the park just exploring. It is amazing. I can't wait to get back to Grayson and do a section hike. The terrain is so different than anything that I have ever seen in the few section hikes hikes I've competed on the AT. Welcome back to the trail

  10. #10

    Default

    Thanks for the feedback - sounds like picked a good section. All my gear is still good, I just needed a water filter / so went with the MSR Mini Works EX.

    Don't know if my son will get hooked - so I bought the Therma Rest Ridgerest old school foam pad off the Clymb for cheap. My thought is if he doesn't get hooked I will use it under my inflatable for extra warmth during winter camping.

    This year I'd like to supplement my trail running with some overnight snow camping trips via XX skiing or snowshoeing into Carver's gap.

    Thanks for welcoming me back, y'all!

    Cheers,
    Brad

  11. #11

    Default Even closer to home

    There are several campsites within the Grandfather Mountain backcountry. I believe they can be reserved. All of Grandfather is a NC state park nowadays, with the Morton family running the Swinging Bridge and other attractions as concessionaires now. A nice shelter exists at High Balsam, just off of the Daniel Boone Scout Trail around 2/3 of the way up from the trailhead at the Parkway. High Balsam faces east so clear skies provide a great sunrise. The 360 degree views from Grandfather's summit, Calloway Peak, are awesome. Great views of Roan, Hump, Pond, Whitetop, and Mount Rogers from Grandfather's summit. I like going up from the Boone Fork trailhead at MP 300 on the Blue Ridge Parkway. The Crag Way branch is my preferred route, avoiding a long, deeply eroded segment of the Daniel Boone Scout Trail which is very much a green tunnel through an extensive rhodo patch. Check the Grandfather website for a downloadable/printable trail map on a topo base. Enjoy this time with your son! AO

  12. #12

    Default Back in the Saddle - a Hiker once again

    Love Grayson Highlands. Being in NC you should check out Pisgah National Forest. The Art Loeb trail, Shining Rock Wilderness and Looking Glass Rock are all spectacular. I love Pisgah!! High elevation, great rock formations and balds. Have fun.

  13. #13

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Alleghanian Orogeny View Post
    I like going up from the Boone Fork trailhead at MP 300 on the Blue Ridge Parkway. The Crag Way branch is my preferred route, AO

    Thanks AO - I don't see parking at MP 300, do you park on 221? And do you take Nuwati to the Cragway? I'm putting that on the list. We did some winter/snow day hikes on Tanawah last year and it was gorgeous.

  14. #14

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Deco View Post
    Love Grayson Highlands. Being in NC you should check out Pisgah National Forest. The Art Loeb trail, Shining Rock Wilderness and Looking Glass Rock are all spectacular. I love Pisgah!! High elevation, great rock formations and balds. Have fun.
    I agree - I've done some hikes up that way. My in-laws have a cabin in Cedar Mt, not too far away. Have you done Cold Mt as well?

  15. #15

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by FlyFishNut View Post
    Thanks AO - I don't see parking at MP 300, do you park on 221? And do you take Nuwati to the Cragway? I'm putting that on the list. We did some winter/snow day hikes on Tanawah last year and it was gorgeous.
    I just double-checked the Nat Park Service online map and it checks out with my memory of where the Boone Fork Trailhead is--right about the 300 mp on the BRP. It's a prominent pull-out/trailhead right where the BRP crosses Boone Fork Creek. I'd say it's about 2 miles southbound from Holloway Mountain Road and 3 miles south of Price Lake campground. I actually tried and failed to find the trailhead along 221 at Thanksgiving last year, when the BRP was closed due to ice and snow. I reached the point where the trailhead should be and just didn't see any well-marked parking and was reluctant to pull off close to residences. And yes, you want the Nuwati Trail to the Crag Way Trail. There is some fine day-hiking along the Boone Fork Trail within Price Park, where a 5 mile loop takes you to the Boone Fork Cascades. The MST overlaps the Boone Fork Trail, entering from the Tanawa at the south side of Price Park, dropping down Bee Tree Creek to Boone Fork, climbing parallel steeply uphill with the Cascades on your left, and crossing Boone Fork Creek at the top of the Cascades as it departs the Boone Fork Trail. The MST then climbs steeply out of the creek bed up to and crossing Shulls Mill Road and crossing from Price Park to Moses Cone Memorial Park. The MST then overlaps some of the Cone Park Carriage Trails before reaching the BRP at Flat Top Manor. To the best of my knowledge, no camping is allowed along that section of the MST or anywhere in both Price Park and Cone Park, but the day hiking experience is sublime. AO

  16. #16

    Default

    welcome to WB!
    you hiking with a External frame pack or Internal? :-)

  17. #17

    Default Back in the Saddle - a Hiker once again

    I have done cold mountain as well although I prefer the areas mentioned above. But anywhere in Pisgah is great.

  18. #18

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by CrumbSnatcher View Post
    welcome to WB!
    you hiking with a External frame pack or Internal? :-)

    Actually I have a mule that I pack and it just follers me

  19. #19
    Registered User WILLIAM HAYES's Avatar
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    Default

    a second on grayson highlands it would be a good first hike good views and an easy area to hike

  20. #20

    Default

    I vote Grayson as well especially for the teens. Awesome place.
    But good call on watching the weather there cause it can turn bad quickly.
    "Backpacking North Carolina" by Joe Miller is worth the investment. I like trail books and he did a great b with this one.
    Other options - Linville Gorge, Wilson Creek, Art Loeb. In the Smokey's (permit reqd), you could do a Mt Sterling loop. At Roan Mountain, there's Carvers Gap to 19E.
    I've got some videos on my YouTube channel of some if these places.
    Trip reports from the South East (mainly NC): http://www.youtube.com/playlist?list...ldmNAlU1jmo58Q
    I got back into backpacking after some time off myself. Its been fun getting out there again.
    South Charlotte myself as well.

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