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[at-l] Art Loeb Trail, baby trip report
One of my favorite chunks of trail. The views from Cold Mountain are
spectacular. I spent 3 days up atop Cold Mountain a few years ago, and
never got tired of just hanging there and starting off.
You should head back there, and camp your first night in the clearing at the
base of the Shining Rock trail. Head up there early evening, watch a
sunset, cook a little supper and wait for nightfall. I swear the rock
lightly hums and vibrates as it cools. If you do this on a moonless night,
the stars are so bright it looks like you could reach up and touch them.
The hike from the base of Shining Rock to Cold Mountain takes you over some
ridges, and over an area known as the Narrows - great views. Water is
scarce, although there are a couple of springs up on the trail going up Cold
I highly recommend this stretch of trail. And if you go up there in late
September - early October, the blueberries are some of the sweetest you will
[mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org]On Behalf Of Jan Leitschuh
Sent: Monday, October 14, 2002 10:11 PM
Subject: [at-l] Art Loeb Trail, baby trip report
Well, I have to say it. I am in love.
He's big, he's bad, he's bald, he's one high dude - the Art Loeb Trail.
I got my first view on Saturday, and I was smitten - love at first sight.
Trying to catch a bit of fall color and air while visiting my father near
I met some friends and headed west of Brevard, into the Pisgah Natl. Forest.
We traveled up to Black Balsam parking area off the Blue Ridge Parkway.
I thought there would be more leaf peepers jamming the roads, but no! Color
not yet peak, but just starting to come on. Many leaves falling nonetheless,
and the air was cooling down.
I was unprepared for the balds up there. Beauty!
Apparently, a very hot fire thoroughly scoured the area in the 1920s
(hearsay), and nothing has yet to grow back. There were low trees, such as
the mountain ash with its startling orange berries, on the hills below us.
Low blueberry bushes were abundant, and their foliage was well into scarlet,
blanketing the hills. But very few little pocket of trees, although those
few looked to be fine, sheltered spots for camping.
We passed several piped springs on the way in, but the next many miles were
dry. We wandered around on several trails there, back to the Shining Rock
Wilderness, and returned via the Art Loeb.
The Art Loeb prefers the vista and ridge tops, and we did scale Tennent
Mountain, at 6,040 feet. Mighty airish up there! I made myself a promise
atop that rocky summit to come back with a backpack and travel this trail.
Also made a mental note to be prepared for any weather changes! It looks as
if the weather could sweep in, be fierce.
The summit also offered a spectacular view of Looking Glass Rock, a pluton,
or natural upwelling of lava, a massive "bubble" or dome, that has withstood
the erosion that has gone on around it for eons.
Now, the cheese stands alone.
They say in winter, water seepage freezes on the bald rock face and shines
like a mirror in the sun, hence the name.
At only 30 miles, the AL trail is very doable for a weekend warrior. It is
said to start at Davidson River camp, and end on Cold Mountain. It's above
5K feet for most of it. For a while, it runs in conjunction with the
Mountains to the Sea Trail, another one of mine future lusts, if the AT
doesn't break me.
>From close to the Black Balsam parking area, the Art Loeb Trail will take
you up to Black Balsam, Tennent Mountain, Ivestor Gap, and then into the
Shining Rock Wilderness Area. Heading left (west) will take
you to Silvermine Bald, the spectacular, 4-state-view, 360-degree panorama
of Devil's Courthouse, and after crossing highway 215.
the Middle Prong Wilderness Area.
Anyone here done it?
Here's a pic:
Well, I'm babbling. Being smitten can do that to a gal.
Jan Leitschuh Sporthorses Ltd.
>From the AT-L mailing list est. 1995
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