Asked my friend Lindsey if they knew of any good little loops and she suggested Big East Fork. We were looking for water, as it was “hot.” Not Memphis hot, but it would feel fantastic to plunge into the water! So we did some research and decided on about a 25ish mile loop. We started at the Big East Fork Trail head and hike way up to the Art Loeb, that was about the toughest climb of the trip! We around 3:30 Friday afternoon as Michael was suppose to take off work and then decided that he would do some meetings. So late start it was. We didn’t set up camp until 830 and I was passed out by 930. We had missed this section of the Art Loeb when we had hiked it. So we got to go over Flower Gap which was incredibly beautiful and we watched the sun set there. We hiked down to Ivestor Gap and put up the tent and made dinner and went to bed. As usual I can’t fall asleep, but the night was absolutely amazing. We wanted to sleep with the fly off, but we had already been dewed on while making dinner. We left some flaps up and it was amazingly bright from the stars and moon, oh the stars! I can honestly say I have never heard quietness like that in my life, especially while camping. Super super quiet, one cricket played for us. We were blocked by Tennent Mtn and we could hear the wind whipping around in front of it. One bunny was playing around our tent as well. It was awesome!
We woke up early and mowed down oatmeal and packed up our gear and hiked on the Art Loeb over Tennent and Black Balsam which we had done previously. Thank goodness those little red bugs weren’t present and we spent more time at each peak! I also didn’t wear a bright yellow shirt! We left the Art Loeb where the Mountains to Sea trail picks up and hiked down and over to Graveyard Fields where we ate lunch and cooled off in the waterfalls. We got some mighty strange looks as this is a tourist spot right off the BRP. We got back on the trail and headed to Skinny Dip Falls, an even bigger tourist trap. There were too many people and dogs! So we got out of there with a quickness! We looped back up to Big East Fork where we were hoping to find campsites right by the river…we passed several that were good but Michael said that they weren’t what we were looking for. Well we trekked on and after that we hardly found anything! We found one but it wasn’t close to the river, and it had begun to rain. We were only 4 miles from the car so we decided to push on, go home, shower, and eat Mexican food and sleep in our own bed. So that made for a 17 mile day. That was a little bit overkill and I have learned my lesson. The knees were fine but being on my feet for that long with a heavy pack, my feet were pretty gnarly feeling!
Friday, 3:30, clean and fresh!
Pictures out of order, Tennent Mtn. looking at Pisgah in the background.
Flower Gap, Sunset
Tennent mtn. Michael is going to be getting a new pack whenever we get out REI dividend for the year…his is pretty wicked and uncomfortable!
Hiking to Black Balsam.
Where we camped the first and only night.
Being dumb! Michael and I like to poke fun of the mouth open, hand on hip pose girls do, I’m a natural!
We originally wanted to do the Linville Gorge Loop, which is around 22 miles, but all the permits were gone for backpacking. We are going to try and do it this spring, but will definitely be getting a permit a month in advance!