Monday, September 18, 2023

Slapping Bears & Ponies In The Mt. Rogers NRA

Well, I know everyone has been on the edge of their seats for my blog on my trip to Mount Rogers NRA (National Recreation Area). 
There have been technical difficulties the last few days. The Lummox didn't want me to tell you how I carried him on this trip, how I ran off a bear and whooped a "stallion" pony! I also did what a Hiking Machine does...CRUSH TRAIL! Any time I get to hike and camp is a good time. The only bad thing...the Lummox wussed out and cut the trip short because of rain. What a pansy! Well, I need to get ready for this weekend at High Knob, so I'm out...BITCHES!

Tuesday, September 12, 2023

HELL YEAH...Day Two Crushing LeConte!

It was day two of the Hiking Machine on Mt. LeConte. It was flattering with all the adulation that I received at LeConte Lodge. I mean I am THE Hiking Machine! As for the Lummox...he was just like wallpaper...LOL! 

After leaving the Lodge I crushed trail all the way down the Alum Caves Trail to Newfound Gap Road. I know I created memories everyone at the Lodge will remember. Oh, the probably forgot the Lummox or never noticed. Well, I'm out...BITCHES!

Monday, September 11, 2023

Day One At LeConte...HELL YEAH!

Hell yeah Daddy! I'm up at LeConte Lodge 6,000 feet up! We hiked up here because I was competed a night's stay because they wanted a Hiking Machine rub! While I was the guest of honor the Lummox had to pay for his stay (double the normal rate). I carried 200+ pounds of dead weight five miles. Now, I'm just relaxing in my rocking car at my cabin...nice! Well, there will be more tomorrow, but for now I'm out...BITCHES!

Thursday, August 31, 2023

When Two Nights Became One...Trials & Tribulations On The Roans

This summer has seemed dominated by problems and weather. This means I had only been camping twice (not counting the Elkmont trip, which ended in June), and both of those were car camps. I had been backpacking since a May trip to Rocky Fork. Well, I would change that Wednesday with a trip to the Roans.
Truth be told, the original plan was to head to the Humps, but decided I wasn't really ready for that trip and it would be a good decision for many reasons I will touch on. So, instead, I decided to go up to the Roans instead.
I first drove up to the Roan Gardens area to run the drone and then hiked out to Roan High Bluffs. It had been a couple of years since my last trip out there. This time, I did the shorter hike of a mile out and back. I did this so I could put up the drone to good results. 
The trip up from Carvers Gap was harder than in the past. I know I keep getting older, but a 40-pound pack doesn't help. I don't know how it got so heavy. I mean, my Big Agnes is lighter than my Kelty Salida. Well, this weight issue is something I need to figure out. 
Because of my lack of hiking and heavy pack, I decided to keep my original plan and camp first at Jane Bald and then head to Grassy Ridge Bald on Thursday. One thing I have to say about the day was when the sun was out, it was abnormally hot for the Roans. Luckily, as soon as the sun started to set, so did the temperature, and it made for a pleasant evening. 
When I turned in for the evening, I didn't expect problems, but I would be wrong. When I went to bed, I had to blow up my sleeping pad (REI Rails), which wasn't unusual. What wasn't is waking up in the middle of the night after the pad deflated. Not all the way, but enough, and no, it's not fun having to blow it back up at 3 am. When I woke up in the morning, I knew it had a hole but found no sign of it. So, because of that and other reasons, I decided to cut the trip short. Pete wasn't happy, but I placated him by going up to Grassy Ridge Bald, and he was content. Also in the morning my sunrise was blocked by clouds and before long, I was shrouded in them. So, Thursday's views weren't like the day before.
Anyway, while shorter than I wanted, it was still a great overnight, and I found a new place to eat in Roan Mountain (Smoky Mountain Bakery) for and win!

Friday, August 25, 2023

I Still Had To Deal With The Lummox...But It Was The Roans!

I know all of my Peteoholics have been jonesing for a fix from their favorite Hiking Machine, and I aim to please. This week, I kicked the Lummox in the nuts and told him after he recovered from the fetal position we were going out. But it wasn't just anywhere it was THE ROANS...HELL YEAH! We were originally going to the Humps, but the Lummox wussed out. Luckily, he suggested the Roans, or he would have had his balls busted again! 

Well, I wanted to go on to Grassy Ridge (Bald), but the Lummox was tired and hot, so we stopped...what a melvin! The only reason I stopped was because the Lummox promised we would go to Grassy Ridge the next day. We did, but not as I planned. See, he woke up complaining that his shoulder hurt because his sleeping pad had deflated. What a pansy, I sleep cowboy-style every time out! So, he didn't want to spend another night out. Well, I held him to the promise of going to Grassy Ridge with the threat of blue balls! While I only got one night on the Roans, it was better than none. Well, with that I have three words for you...I'm out BITCHES!

Monday, August 21, 2023

Blue Crayfish, Salamander Rescue & A New Friend In Myrtle The Turtle

This past weekend, I was back to the Cabin in Southwest Virginia for my main pastime of late...mowing.
I spent most of the week at St. Clair is doing something around mowing (weed-eating is part of that, too). That wasn't the only thing I ended up doing. Dad and I decided to clean out the spring water tank. It is where the water from the spring collects and is pumped to the house. This meant I had to climb into the tank to sweep the mud and suck out as much as possible. While there, I did rescue an orange salamander. While he wasn't in the tank, I also spotted a Blue Crayfish, also known as Monongahela Crayfish. Finally, I made a new friend who was around all weekend...Myrtle the Turtle!

Saturday, August 12, 2023

Horse Creek Set The Stage For Privy Repair With USFS

On Wednesday I was heading back up to Jerry Cabin Shelter to do repair work on the privy. However, I was getting a ride up from the US Forest Service (USFS) to the Appalachian Trail (AT) and the shelter on the Sam Waddle Section.  Since our meeting was early Wednesday I decided to camp at Horse Creek Campground in the Recreation Area. It wasn't far from our meeting place at another recreation area, Round Knob. While I had camped nearby at Old Forge Campground but never at Horse Creek. 

I had walked through the campground as an old, mostly paved, trail goes from the main picnic pavilion to the swimming hole. So I had an idea of sites, but I decided on number eight. It was a beautiful site next to the trail and Horse Creek. It was a short walk to get water and to where the Campground Host resided. He was a friendly man named Nathan. Anyway, it was a really pleasant evening and I got to put my new tent, Big Agnes Salt Creek 2P, through its paces (more later). I even got a sunset in with the drone.

The following day I got ready to head out Pete was right about one thing a strange person did surprise us and I gave him a drink of water. The host Nathan would text later that he helped the guy out. 
Shortly after I made it to Round Knob my partner for the day, Taylor, a Trail Technician arrived with the ATV for our trip up. I will say it was a different experience to ride up instead of hiking. The road was even rougher than a month ago, so riding made that better. Also not having to carry the larger board and drill was a big plus, too. Once at the AT, we were greeted by a cloud-shrouded trail.

Once up there the main two jobs were replacing a board on the privy and raking it...again. I will say that this time was nowhere close to how bad it was in June. I was better prepared (respirator and rubber gloves) and there wasn't the volume or as many flies. Before doing that job I replaced the board on the front of the privy at the door. It had rotted through so I cleared out the old wood, took out the screws, and replaced them and the board. Unbeknownst to me when Taylor came to check on my progress I had him take the old wood back to the shelter (for firewood). Suddenly he dropped it because there was a Black Widow Spider. I realized I had just had my hand there a few minutes prior...lucky! 

We also met a thru-hiker who had set her tent up inside the shelter. Going by the trail name "Serene" she was headed off trail because of all the rain lately. After fixing the upper water's flow we headed back. First I did some lopping and we almost got stuck when the 4WD slid partially off the trail. But Taylor's expert handling of the vehicle got us out of that tight spot. 

Then it was time to cut out some trees. Taylor had brought along his chainsaw and we had identified a number of problem trees on our way in. By far the biggest was the old Elephant Tree that Paul and I had discovered fallen on the trail in March. The Carolina Mountain Club had decided to leave the tree because it would be a job and people had detoured around it. But we had a hard time getting the ATV by the tree coming in so Taylor said it would be no problem taking it out. While it did take some time we got it done almost unscathed. 

Once back at the car, I discovered an issue, I had a flat tire. With some ingenuity, we got it off and me going. Even with a number of headaches, it was a good overnight work trip to the Sam Waddell Section.