Shining Rock, NC

August 28, 2007

Today's hike was in the Shining Rock Area off of the Blue Ridge Parkway in Western NC. First, we hiked from the parking area at the end of F.S. Road 816 to the Summit of Shining Rock Mountain following the Ivestor Gap Trail. Next, we hiked the Art Loeb Trail to the Summit of Black Balsam Knob (elevation 6,214 ft.) giving a total of about 12 miles for the day.

HIKERS - Jeff Anderson, Melissa Anderson, Phil Brownrigg, Linda Johnson, Dick Metzgar, Wanda Miller, Wayne Miller, Doug Russell, Pom Sinnock, Dan Ross, Dave Standard, Carole Wintle.

TRAIL INFO. - The Ivestor Gap Trail to Shining Rock is a very rocky old road bed for the first couple of miles to the entrance of the Shining Rock Wilderness at Ivestor Gap. From here, we followed the old road bed to the base of Shining Rock Mountain and climbed up the narrow trail to the summit and white quartz cliffs along with thousands of loaded blueberry bushes.

The Art Loeb Trail was accessed from the intersection with F.S. Road 816 and we hiked a mile or so to the Summit of Black Balsam Knob which offers spectacular 360 degree views from an elevation of 6,214 ft. Much of the trail is over rock faces and the mountain is mostly a grassy bald.

Directions: From Clayton, GA, take Hwy. 441 to Franklin, NC and turn right on 441 / (23) and continue through Dillsboro and highway 23 will fork off to the right and you stay on 23 to the Balsam community until you see a sign for the Blue Ridge Parkway. Turn onto the Parkway entrance and take the parkway toward Asheville. There are mile posts along the way. Continue to Forest Service Road 816 near Parkway mile post 419. Turn left onto the FS 816 and drive a mile and a half or so to the parking lot at the end of the road.

Another great day for a hike! Partly cloudy and cool with temperatures in the mid-60's all day.

Hiking distance - approx. 12 miles

WILDFLOWERS IN BLOOM: White Snakeroot, White Woods Aster, Angelica, Dodder, Joe Pye Weed, Tall Goldenrod, White Whorled Aster, Heal All, Micheaux's Saxifrage, Ox-eye Daisy, Summersweet, Bluet, Tall Bluet, Silverrod, Mountain Gentian, Closed Gentian, Yellow Coneflowers, White Heart-leafed Aster, Heart-leafed Purple Violet, Phlox, Flat-topped White Aster, Beech Drops,St. John's Wort, and Indian Plaintain.

BIRDS IDENTIFIED: Chimney Swift, Dark-eyed Junco and Raven

scroll down for photos.......



pic1
Getting ready at the parking lot on F.S. road 816.
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The Wilderness sign at Ivestor Gap.
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At the base of Shining Rock we see huge white quartz cliffs.
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Climbing up the trail to the summit. .
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The Summit of Shining Rock Mountain.
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Just to the side of the quartz cliffs we enjoyed picking blueberries from countless
wild blueberry bushes. It was a good year for blueberries in this area!
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Now, we are heading up the Art Loeb Trail to Black Balsam Knob.
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This portion of the trail is solid rock.
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The clouds were gathering at the 6,214 ft. summit!
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Headed back down the mountain !
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The OFHC gang from today's hike foraging blueberries! (l-r) Dan Ross, Linda Johnson, Phil Brownrigg, Dick Metzgar, Wayne Miller, Wanda Miller, Carole Wintle, Pom Sinnock, Melissa Anderson, Jeffrey Anderson, Dave Standard, Doug Russell.


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