Saturday, June 30, 2012

Solstice Hike 2012

This is the eighth year that Tal Galton has organized a challenging hike of the entire Black Mountain Crest Trail plus the Mount Mitchell Trail. The route goes from Bolens Creek to the top of the Blacks all the way across to Mount Mitchell and then down to Black Mountain Campground. Total distance is about 18 miles with a lot of hills (Tal guessed about 6000 feet of climbing). The hike always happens near the summer solstice for maximum day length. We left Bolens Creek just before 7 AM--this was our first water stop.

This is where we hit the top of the ridge. It smells really good up there.

Horse Rock Meadow.

Tom and Tucker at Horse Rock Meadow.

Ethan Rountree somewhere north of Deep Gap.

Lunch at Deep Gap. A few folks hiked down from here.

Isaac Galton is a barefoot hiker in the grand Celo tradition (I'm looking at you, Kennan Harvey). At the halfway point his feet were doing fine (the mark on his left foot predated our hike and didn't hurt) and they were still fine at the end.

Peter Bobbe part way up Deer Mountain.

This is the group that made the whole walk--at the summit of Mount Mitchel at 5 PM with about 3 hours left to go. I think we were all feeling fairly badass at this point. We all made it to the AMS bus at Black Mountain Campground by 8 PM--just about 13 hours after we left Bolens Creek.

Evidence of humans on the trail.

Early harvest

We're always happy to find a blacksnake skin. This beauty was in Donna Jean's basement.

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Huge ant heads into Virginia

(It's worth clicking on this one to see it bigger.)

Saturday, June 9, 2012

Quick work

Tammy Hitchcock left this jacket out in the mudroom for a few days, which was long enough for a mud dauber to get started on a home for its future offspring.

Sunday, June 3, 2012

A report from the trail

I went on a nice hike up in the Blacks last week. The galax is blooming (I love that plant).

 Up on top of the ridge there was a profusion of Yellow Clintonia (clintonia borealis).

Most dramatically, the purple rhododendron were in peak bloom, which made for a lot of visuals like this,


and walking on sections of trail like this. I could almost imagine a spate of woodland weddings.

Maple Camp Bald. Still one of my favorite places anywhere.