1.9: 1.5h, 200’ MTCC w/pack +ppp
1.10: 1h, 500’ Ida w/pack +ppp
1.11: 1.5h, 200’ MTCC w/pack +pp
1.12: 0.5h, 100’ Peavine +ppp
1.13: 1h, 1000’ Jerdon w/pack +p
1.14: 7h, 6000’ Blacks w/pack +pp
1.15: 6h, 1000’ (& back) w/pack +ppp
Although the run commute twice a week to and from MTCC for night class is mostly off pavement, this 7-mile roundtrip (on an old RR bed) boasts little elevation gain. I didn’t get up Ida much to supplement the climbing, but there was still a good bit of time spent on the feet this week thanks to the weekend’s backpacking adventure.
Lily, Uwharrie and I had a difficult choice: a trip to the Gorge, or up to the Crest. Having gawked at the snow-capped Blacks all week, we chose the latter. On Friday after work, we stuffed our packs and drove a dozen or so miles from town to lower Curtis Creek. We night hiked in to bivy on the Jerdon Mtn. lookout tower. A nearly full moon illuminated the surrounding mountains including the distant ice-encrusted crest. We began questioning the efficacy of our equipment.
We ascended Heartbreak Ridge the next day and entered into a new world. At 5750’ along the MST below Potato Knob’s precipitous face, we found a sheltered campsite and went to work preparing for a night of bitter cold. Lily gathered an impressive stack of firewood; nearby I hacked away at bulletproof ice with a rock to access a rivulet of water while Uwharrie curled up on the sleeping bags. The fire warmed us inside and out and we celebrated our (what is nowadays all too rare) night on the trail.
We awoke to over four inches of fresh snow on the ground. We started a morning fire, had breakfast and packed up. This winter wonderland had us laughing out loud and rejoicing our decision to visit the Crest. As we lost elevation and looped back (in a similar fashion to the Mt. Gibbes 50K route), we left the snow behind and began to thaw out. I’m thankful to have such adventurous companions as well as such a beautiful backyard!
T-minus 2 weeks
1 day ago