Archive for the 'Mountains' Category



Running Into A Bear On The AT

BY Herschel Smith
2 months, 1 week ago

News from the mountains.

A woman had “an unusual encounter” with a bear while hiking on the Appalachian Trail Saturday, according to officials from the Great Smoky Mountains National Park.

GSMNP spokesperson Dana Soehn said the park’s wildlife biologist and park Rangers interviewed the woman Monday morning after receiving a radio report of a “bear attack.” She said she wanted to make sure to pass on the information to our staff regarding her interaction with a bear along her hike.

The woman was hiking in the eastern section of the park in a fairly remote section of the Appalachian Trail near Camel Gap when a bear darted quickly across the trail knocking her over, according to details from the park.

The woman told park officials the encounter happened very quickly, but she was certain that it was a bear. The bear did not linger or react when it knocked into her and kept quickly going on its way.

She was hiking with headphones so she had no advance warning of the bear approaching the trail as it crossed over, according to the park.

Soehn said while it’s not unusual for bears to cross the trails while people are hiking, it is unusual for a collision to occur. Normally people hear a bear’s approach and have time to react before the crossing.

By the time she heard movement in the tree branches near the trail, the bear was already crossing and knocked her over, according to the park. She was not injured and the bear did not attempt to access her pack or interact with her in any way.

Why does anyone want to listen to music when you can listen to the birds, wind, rustling of the trees, and animal life?

And for goodness’ sake, keep your head on a swivel when you’re in the bush.

Rock Top Trail On A Beautiful Day!

BY Herschel Smith
4 months ago

Near Crowder’s Mountain.

Weigh in.  What are you doing to stay in shape?

Vacation Activities

BY Herschel Smith
1 year, 9 months ago

It’s been hard to keep the blog going with family from out of town for the week, and during that week we hiked Mount Mitchell, Crowder’s Mountain, Pinnacle Mountain, and mountain biked.  Before that I biked single track at DuPont.  It’s nice to be alone on a cold, cold day at DuPont riding Jim Branch down the mountain.

I thought you might enjoy this picture.

Grassy Creek Falls At DuPont

BY Herschel Smith
1 year, 10 months ago

This is Grassy Creek Falls from the top.

Ridgeline was closed for maintenance, and since I didn’t look at the web site prior to striking out Friday morning, I had to find out by meeting a fellow biker on the trails.

I decided to get back down the mountain by riding Jim Branch trail.  I had anguished my way up that trail before, but never gone down it.

It was a rockin’ trail, very fast and rowdy.  But this isn’t surprising since there are no bad trails at DuPont.

Biking Big Rock At Dupont

BY Herschel Smith
1 year, 11 months ago

It was a beautiful day to mountain bike Big Rock at Dupont last Friday.

Biking The Ridgeline Trail At Dupont

BY Herschel Smith
1 year, 11 months ago

I was taking a break near the end of my day at the top of Ridgeline at Dupont last Friday.  It was a beautiful day, and the foliage was gorgeous.  The climb up was intense and an extreme challenge.  Ridgeline is the payoff.

This is a video of the way down the Ridgeline trail back to the parking lot.  Of course, it’s not me.  But watching it reminds me of every jump, every curve, every grunt, and every switchback.  This is the most intense mountain biking I’ve ever done, and one of the best downhill trails in America.

Mountain Biking Payoff

BY Herschel Smith
2 years, 1 month ago

After you’ve done the workout, put in the effort, and sweat several liters of water doing the climb, it’s good to get the payoff.  For me, it was downhill singletrack heaven pretty much the rest of the way out to the trailhead.  I earned this payoff.

Have a great Labor Day!

 

Mountain Biking Croft State Park

BY Herschel Smith
2 years, 2 months ago

The Southside Trail Loop in Croft State Park runs up the side of a mountain in one direction, and along a river in the other, and which part you do first depends on whether you go clockwise or counterclockwise.  The uphill is strenuous to the point of being grueling, and the downhill part is very fast and technical.  The total loop is about nine miles, but it feels like fifteen.

Along the river there is some relatively flat terrain in an old growth forest that is absolutely enchanting.

Memorial Day Mountain Biking At Lake James State Park

BY Herschel Smith
2 years, 4 months ago

It’s very challenging to try to stay up with someone whose thighs and heart makes it seem like they’ve got rockets attached to their bike.

Mountain Biking, Cicadas And Tree Grubs

BY Herschel Smith
2 years, 4 months ago

We always try to stay physically active.  You never know when you’ll need to be in shape.  This past weekend we mountain biked at James Lake State Park.  As we stepped out of the truck to hit the trails, we heard an almost deafening sound coming from the forest.  For those of you who know this sound, it’s a bit like listening to an admixture of a dying calf and a cavitating pump.

It happened to be Cicadas – tens of thousands of them.  This was their year, and I suppose their week, to come up in this region.

It was a good day to mountain bike, but it reminds me of an event several years ago where I once lived.  I saw Heidi with a live Cicada caught between her paws, licking the innards and juice out of the insect.  I said to her, “Things like this are why I have to deworm you, bitch.”  She briefly looked up at me and then returned to lapping up her delicacy.

That reminds me of an event a number of years ago when my oldest son, Josh, sold me a bill of goods.  We were chopping wood and came up on a bunch of tree grubs.  He popped a small one in his mouth and ate it.  Then he dared me to, and of course I couldn’t let my oldest son show me up.  After all, Les Stroud eats tree grubs.

Then Josh handed me a tree grub that dwarfed the one he ate.  I dutifully ate the thing.  It tasted like wood, just wet and squishy.  But I don’t think I’ll be eating any more tree grubs unless I’m in the wilderness in a survival situation.


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