I set out with the intention of walking the 8 mile Bent Creek North Loop, as detailed in the excellent book titled Asheville – Your Guide To The Areas Most Beautiful Hikes by Jennifer Pharr Davis. I added on an extra piece to the hike and extended it to 11.6 miles in total.
I left a little later than I had planned due to the unusual cold weather that we have been experiencing. It was still way below freezing, but at least it wasn’t in the single digits like earlier.
This hike started at the Rice Pinnacle Trailhead which is about a 10 minute drive from my home. I absolutely love the fact that we are so close to the forests and mountains. It is what I have dreamed of for many years and now finally it is a reality.
I aim to thru hike the Foothills Trail later in February so I need to use the new gear I have accumulated and make sure it works for me. I also want to get myself into shape for this 77 mile trail through South and North Carolina, so I packed up my Zpacks Arc Blast 52ltr backpack with a fair bit of extra gear that I knew I wouldn’t be needing on this day hike. Even then the total weight including two bottles of water, two cameras, food and everything was just 13.5lbs. The Arc Blast feels so good on my back that I don’t even notice that I am carrying it most of the time.
I set off wearing my Icebreaker Tech T Lite Tee shirt under my Ibex Hooded Indie top and my Patagonia Houdini windshirt. A fleece beanie and gloves completed my layering system for the sub-freezing conditions. If I stood still I was a little chilly, but as I was moving uphill I quickly removed the windshirt. As the temperature warmed up to around the mid 40’s, I also removed the Ibex Hoody and hiked in just my tee shirt. I was neither warm nor cold – in fact it felt just about perfect.
The trails are well marked and it is pretty hard to get lost. I took a photocopy of the trail description from the book, a map of the area printed on waterproof paper, and my GPS. I tracked the entire hike on my GPS and uploaded it onto my computer this morning. I then converted it into a route so I have it for future reference.
Rather than ramble on about the hike, I think a selection of photos will do it much more justice. Suffice to say that I thoroughly enjoyed it and I will be doing this hike many times in the future both for its beauty and enjoyment and for the fitness aspect.