This is the summer of hiking for Jimmy and me for a couple of reasons. First, we have had our heads down and worked insanely for the last 4 years. We are reclaiming life-work balance after selling the office, and this glorious spring and summer have been perfect for hitting the trails. Second, we are going out to Yellowstone in the fall, and we want to be in better shape for daily hiking. We have a way to go. We can tackle a 4-5 mile hike, which is really about as long as I want to do. But then we are pretty wiped out for 24 hours, so the stamina needs some work (hey, we are 50+ and nearly 60, so do we get some slack?).
We are trying to hit some trails we have not done before, and we are trying to get up to higher elevations to prepare for Yellowstone. Asheville is about 2200 feet. We can easily find trails at 4000-6000 with a little driving invovled.
Yesterday, July 4th, we really didn't have a plan for where we were going. We headed up north and ended up at Roan Mountain on the NC/TN line. The Appalachian trail crosses there at Carver's Gap, and many thru hikers consider that one of the most beautiful sections of the Trail (I read this), so we decided to check it out. And it was magnificent!
You start from the parking area through an enchanted forest. I expected to see tree nymphs and fairies amongst the ancient spruces and moss covered trees and rocks surrounded by ferns. It was a magical start, and then you emerge shortly on the first of several balds.
You can follow the trail as far as you like (to Maine if you are so inclined!), and there are some spur trails off of it. The clouds were below us and above us, and it was just a fantastic hike at about 72 degrees!
I have lived in these mountains all but 11 years of my 51 years, and I never tire of exploring them and hiking them!