|Our fearless guides, Kelly and Yan consulting the trail map near Farlow Gap|
We started at the Fish Hatchery in Brevard and hiked only about 2 miles to our first campsite. It was perfectly suited for this group of first-timers: water, many big facili-trees to choose from, and a cozy fire-ring in the middle of it all. That night, a steady rain fell, cleansing the air and our spirits. In the morning we awoke to fog and a slight nip in the air.
The second day, we hiked about 4 miles UPHILL to a second camp ground that had a gorgeous view of Davidson River. By the time we reached camp, the skies had cleared and the sun warmed us enough to play in the ice-cold swimming hole.
|On the Daniel Ridge Trail|
|Black Diamond Distance Z-Poles, Keen Hiking Boots, Osprey Pack, REI Hiking Pants|
|One of the many fires the students started and kept|
|My hotel-room like Marmot Tungsten 2P tent. Compared to a tarp, this baby is HEAVEN on earth.|
|View from Silvermine Bald on the Art Loeb Trail|
|View from the intersection of the Flat Creek Trail and Sam Knob Trail, on our way to Black Balsam|
|The students posed for an east-facing photo before the sunset. I love this group!|
|Our fearless guide, Kelly taking a breather from our energetic group.|
It was cold and chilly up on the mountain. A group of Asheville hippies in tunics and colorful blankets serenaded everyone with Simon and Garfunkel turned Van Morrison and the Fray type ditties with the ukelele.
After we began to shiver and our bellies began to speak, we headed back down to where we would camp for the last night. We set up our tents in the deep forested dark, and cooked the last bit of our food on our camp stoves. It felt as if we were at Everest base camp, albeit without the snow and garbage.
|Gluten free tuna mac never tasted so good!|
We bedded down for one last night, this time up at 5800 feet. It was cold and white-noise windy. Sleep came in fits and starts, but still I felt rested and re-set in the early morning.
After packing up hastily and silently, we packed ourselves and our packs in the van and trailer that had been left for us in the parking lot, and watched the sunrise as we drove along Blue Ridge Parkway.