Graybeard Mountain 01-22-14

Started out this morning at 8:40 with the temperature at a chilly 10 degrees.  I get to pick up my son today at 1:00 so better hurry.  Got back around 12:45 and the temperature is 21 degrees.  There were 2 people camping at the shelter and that was all that were out.  So here we go…..

Flat Creek

Flat Creek

Remember the creek picture from yesterday?  This is close to the beginning of the trail, about 1 plus inches on the ground.

As we moved up the mountain, the snow got deeper.  By the end of the 4th switchback there was 3 to 4 inches.  Leaving the switchbacks and heading toward the shelter was the first HARD fall all the way to the ground wipe-out of the day.  This one didn’t hurt as bad as the others.  While I have your attention there are a few observations to share with you.

1)  Hiking in/on snow is a lot harder than regular trail walking.

2)  Gaiters really help a lot.

3)  Hiking poles are even more important in the Winter than the Summer.

My hiking poles.

My hiking poles.

4)  Good boots that are properly fit and warm are essential.

Enough rambling – here are pictures approaching the 1st summit of Graybeard.  The snow was a steady 6 inches with drifts from 8 to 10.

View from the top.

Summer Begins Drawing to a Close

You know Fall is just around the corner in Black Mountain with the passing of the Sourwood Festival. The 34th iteration of the annual festival was from August 13th to 14th, during which festival organizers estimated 30,000 people would descend on our small town. The busy weekend filled with crafts and great food is a Black Mountain tradition that closes off large sections of the town to car traffic. Nobody minds, as there is usually plenty of sunshine, sights, and smells to take in.

But Sourwood is over and so, soon, will summer. Black Mountain summers are the envy of most people in the Southeast, but for residents and visitors, it is only a warm-up (no pun intended) for the real show, Fall. People come from all over the country and even the world to experience the cavalcade of color. The varieties of trees offer up all kinds of shades and variations of the traditional fall colors. While our mountains normally serve as the prime viewing treat, during the Fall they serve as an accent for the star of the show, the leaves. Black Mountain is privileged to watch the show happen daily all around town as Fall sneaks up and whirls by in a swirl of crisp air, crunching leaves, and events like the Lake Eden Arts Festival. As you enjoy the last portions of the hot summer and the more and more frequent reprieves from the heat, start getting ready to take full advantage of the change in seasons. Keep your eye open for the first signs of color change at the top of the mountains. It runs down those mountains like gold.

Campfire Gourmet

August and September provide some premium camping weather for residents and visitors. The warm days and cool nights are a perfect setting for mountain hikes and evenings spent around the campfire with friends. While long backpacking trips with minimal contact with civilization are wonderful escapes, they are often unattainable in a busy world. Because of this, many people camp at campgrounds or just off the Blue Ridge Parkway. Car camping is a great opportunity to get outside with your kids, enjoy the outdoors, and also bring along a few luxuries that you wouldn’t be able to carry on your back.

One of them is a food: eggs. Fresh eggs are difficult to carry along on the trail, unless you are extremely adept at packing and are very sure of your ability to stay on two feet at all times. Car camping makes a fresh egg breakfast over a campfire pot or camp stove a possibility. If you want to wake up one cool morning in the mountains and have your egg breakfast to go with it (without so much mess), check out this recipe:

Omlets In A Bag

You’ll need (for one 3-egg omlet):

  • 3 eggs
  • 2 sausage links
  • Cheese
  • Optional salsa
  • A pot to boil water (either by campfire or camp stove)
  • A sealable plastic bag


Get your water boiling. While you do that, crack the three eggs into your plastic bag. Go ahead and add your sausage (chopped up), your cheese, and your salsa, if you chose. As you seal the bag, make sure you get out all of the air. Once the water is boiling, toss your bag in the pot. It should take around 15 minutes for the eggs to cook, but you can check to see what consistency you’d like your eggs done at. When the omlet is done like you’d like, you can empty the contents onto a plate or eat out of the bag to save on dishes. Remember to properly dispose of that bag, though. There’s bears out there… and other people who don’t want to find your leftovers!

Hard to beat an omlet on a cool morning in the mountains. Add some fresh coffee, and you’ve got yourself the recipe for the perfect beginning to a day.

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-recipe obtained from
-all photos are from, a great source of information on local things to do, hikes included, both romantic and maybe just for fun