Western North Carolina Memorial Weekend

Bretthn

Explorer
With the constant on and off rain we have been having lately we debated making a trip last weekend to Western North Carolina. Finally we decided to make the trip on Friday evening after work. It's about a two and a half hour drive for us. We also stopped off in Boone for dinner.

We hit the northern end of NC105 (a dirt forest road that runs the western ridge the length of Linville Gorge) after dark. There is a lot of hiking and primitive campsites along the approximate 13 mile stretch. They were calling for rain Friday night so we were able to find a campsite fairly easy. We couldn't have gotten luckier on the spot as it was beautiful the next morning.

The only issue we had setting up in the dark was trying to get the Lexus level for the tent. I had to make a good stack of rocks under one set of tires. It got me thinking about carrying something more convenient. I have seen someone using a yellow plastic stack of RV leveling blocks before. What does everyone else use?

I am not a breakfast person unless I am camping. Watching the sunrise around a campfire with a good cup of coffee and a healthy breakfast was a great way to start the day.

We set up the hammock and relaxed for a couple hours.

We also shot a $2.00 slingshot that we picked up at Mast General Store the night before while in Boone. I have to say it is my new favorite camping accessory.

We were starting to see a lot of traffic by 10:30am and knew there was no way we were going to get this site back if we left to go hiking like we originally planned. We debated just staying at this site all weekend but eventually packed up and headed to look for some waterfalls.
 

Bretthn

Explorer
After packing up camp we headed for Hunt Fish Falls which is only about an hour or so drive on more dirt fire roads.

Its only supposed to be a mile hike to the falls but it is some steep rocky terrain. I felt like my toes were going to burst through the front of my shoes before we made it to the bottom. I am also guessing it is more than a mile and maybe closer to two. When we got to the falls it was all worth it.


We walked down river checking out all of the smaller falls and views while trying to find a good spot to set the hammock and have some lunch.



After a couple beers and the temperature rising into the high 70s I got the bright idea to cool off. I knew the water was too cold for me to gingerly walk in....

It was freezing!
After drying off we made the climb back to car. This small hike is no joke. We ran into a family with some small kids and parents nor kids looked happy.
There is not much for parking for this hike and when we got back the car was hot as hell. We were committed to not running AC all weekend as it only makes it that much hotter at camp. At least in my opinion. Well we broke that deal and had to run the AC for a bit to cool things off.

We headed back towards our campsite that we had that morning with very low hopes that we would get it again but thinking there would be something available.


After driving the length of the gorge and finding nothing we thought we might actually have to get a hotel room for the night. I would just as soon stay at a hotel than a crowded campground. I knew it was a longshot but there were a couple more options. I headed north on 221 looking to see if there were gates open for some other forest service roads. No such luck there either. We then headed back southeast towards Wilson Creek. Every site we came across was also full. The weather started to turn and it was looking like rain. We convinced ourselves that we would get a hotel room in Boone and have a nice dinner while checking out the sites in town. Low and behold just before we turned around we came across a great site and the firepit was still smoldering. I guess the rainclouds got the best of someone and they packed up early.
We quickly got the fire going and started on dinner.

Our campsite backed right up to the creek and was almost as good as the one we had the night before.

Knowing that it was likely going to rain while we slept and may still be raining in the morning we packed up everything that night.
It did pour on us while we slept but the creek was so loud we couldn't tell the difference between it and the rain. We stayed cool and dry and slept well. It was just a sprinkle in the morning. Couldn't have asked for anything better.



We got cleaned up, packed the tent, and headed out to try to get some cellular service as we were meeting some friends to hit some more technical trails that day.
This was another great site that we will be back to again this year. My only concern is that if it were any warmer there may be a good bit of mosquitos.
 

Bretthn

Explorer
Sunday after packing up camp at Wilson Creek we met up with a fellow Expo member Dorton to do some light trail riding. Actually it is a public road that people drive everyday to go to work and back home. I am so jealous of the people that live out here.

Dorton showed up in his new ride and jealousy instantly ensued. His new Tacoma is beautiful and I believe he has a garage full of new parts just waiting to go on as we speak.


This was my first time taking this trail from south to north. I have come down this drop a handful of times but this was my first time climbing it. Pictures do not do it justice. It is a bit scarier in person for someone without sliders.



Thanks to some really good spotting the Lexus climbed it with little effort or drama. The suspension and drivetrain on the Lexus are still completely stock to this day. Even after 3 years it amazes me how capable these things are in stock form.

Enjoy the short video.


Dorton's Tacoma climbed it in crawl control while he sipped his latte. :coffeedrink:

The rest of the trail was easier yet just as fun.


Besides becoming extremely envious of Dorton's new ride, this trail day gave me the itch to find some new places to explore. Currently looking for other places relatively close to home. Debating on heading back up to George Washington National Forest this weekend to do some exploring and camping.
 

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huachuca

Adventurer
Enjoyed the pictures and the narrative; looks like a good time was had by all. Thanks for posting.

We were at Cape Hatteras (Frisco) with our daughter, granddaughter and SIL (they're neighbors of you - Jamestown) and had a good bit more precipitation but it sure thinned out the crowds. Its great living in NC with the options of coast or mountains.
 

kraven

Hegelian Scum
Good stuff, man. The Lexus does well without any mods besides good rubber.

You can go around Linville and drive to the base of Shortoff down Wolfpit road. It's only about a 1.5 hour hike to the top, with lots of tent spots and scenic overlooks. The end of the road is a cul de sac dirt parking area where you can pop the roof tent, but probably no fires. There's a house nearby the trail end. The Mountains to Sea trail crosses Shortoff, so if you wanted you could start in the higher elevations and hike down to Linville on the MTS.

You want to be careful drinking the stream water in Linville though. There some giardia and sewage content in it that comes from homes in Avery county still dumping raw sewage into the tributaries. There are some good wet weather streams you can get water from, and old springs that usually flow, if you look for them. Most of the topo maps available will mark water for you, as well as there being trail markers.
 
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Bretthn

Explorer
Enjoyed the pictures and the narrative; looks like a good time was had by all. Thanks for posting.

We were at Cape Hatteras (Frisco) with our daughter, granddaughter and SIL (they're neighbors of you - Jamestown) and had a good bit more precipitation but it sure thinned out the crowds. Its great living in NC with the options of coast or mountains.
Thanks
We almost headed to the coast but the rain was looking a bit lighter in the mountains.


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Bretthn

Explorer
Good stuff, man. The Lexus does well without any mods besides good rubber.

You can go around Linville and drive to the base of Shortoff down Wolfpit road. It's only about a 1.5 hour hike to the top, with lots of tent spots and scenic overlooks. The end of the road is a cul de sac dirt parking area where you can pop the roof tent, but probably no fires. There's a house nearby the trail end. The Mountains to Sea trail crosses Shortoff, so if you wanted you could start in the higher elevations and hike down to Linville on the MTS.

You want to be careful drinking the stream water in Linville though. There some giardia and sewage content in it that comes from homes in Avery county still dumping raw sewage into the tributaries. There are some good wet weather streams you can get water from, and old springs that usually flow, if you look for them. Most of the topo maps available will mark water for you, as well as there being trail markers.
Thank you.

I think we drove out that way a couple years ago. A few people from our group did the hike but we had to pass because my daughter was only 5.


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Willc

New member
I know Wilsons and linville as I live near . But please send me a link to that road !!! also next time there is camping off of 18 out of morganton/
 

Bretthn

Explorer
I know Wilsons and linville as I live near . But please send me a link to that road !!! also next time there is camping off of 18 out of morganton/
I sent you a message. Thanks for the tip on other camp sites. Are these first come first serve or do you have to pay someone? I try to stay away from campgrounds.
 

Greenbean

B.S. Goodwrench
Awesome trip man,

I need to get out more as I live in Asheville but don't have much free time as of lately....

Guess I need to manage that better hugh!!!
 

Flipper

New member
I used to have the same Lexus.

Also, I would love to know the specific places you stopped for the campsite & waterfall.
I'm planning to go to that area with friends this summer.
 

Bretthn

Explorer
Also, I would love to know the specific places you stopped for the campsite & waterfall.
I'm planning to go to that area with friends this summer.
Sorry for the late reply. The first campsite was toward the southern end of NC105 along Linville Gorge. The second night was along Wilson Creek on Brown Mountain Beach Rd.
The waterfall is Huntfish Falls. There are good directions for all on Google.
 

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