Saturday, November 13, 2010

Hiking in the Mountains

The leaves and fall colors are mostly gone, but it is still a beautiful time here in the mountains.  Late fall and winter is the perfect time for hiking in the mountains--the vistas are at their best. 
We have been experiencing warmer than normal temperatures, which is just icing on the cake.  I went on a hike on 10 Nov. to the summit of Sam Knob.  The trail head is off the Blue Ridge Parkway, between highways 215 and 276, near Brevard, NC.  The trail crosses a grassy alpine meadow before beginning the ascent to the summit (elevation 6050').  The trail to the summit is a series of switchbacks, so it it an easy hike, even though there is an elevation gain of 570'.  The breathtaking vista from the boulders at the summit is 360 degrees and includes the Blue Ridge Parkway, Pidgeon River Valley and Great Smokey Mountains in the distance.  The hike is a little over 2 miles, so it make an easy morning or afternoon hike, plus there are other trails that connect to it if you are in the mood for a longer hike, looping back to the parking area.