Sunday, April 28, 2019

Week 25 Part 2 – Craggy Dome (#55)

It was April 3, 2019.  It had been in the 60’s and foliage was exploding in the lower valleys. One more week and the same would happen in the high mountains.   This was the last week to climb up the scraggly summit of Craggy Dome W4C/CM-007.  I was at the house of son in Greer overseeing some electrical contractors re-wiring a bathroom.   I had a planned meeting with Scott in Asheville at 12:30.   I was waiting for the electrician to complete his work and it was almost time to go meet Scott.   It was still an hour fifteen drive to meet Scott.   Electrician said to me, “Why don’t you go?  Instruct me on how to lock up and leave the key in the lock box”.   I thought to myself “My wife will have a conniption if I leave the keys but I can’t leave Scott hanging, nor can I postpone this hike, last chance to hike Craggy”.  I relented and left the electrician to call me after he locks up.

Soon  I was at the Veterans Restoration Quarters where Scott and his wife volunteer to serve meals to veterans rehabilitating from PTSD, depression and other ailments.   I had a meal with the church volunteers of stuffed potato and cole slaw.

Soon, Scott and I were up on the Parkway headed for Craggy Dome.   Arriving at the overlook where the hike starts, I saw Craggy Dome, a gnarly mess of a mountain full of thick undergrowth and rhododendrons in between the hardwoods.  Within it is a faint manway of a trail probably created by rain water all the way up to the summit.

Scott leading the way, we started hiking on the Mountains to Sea Trail and quickly made a beeline to the left toward the spine of the ridge.   It was shallow at first.   We were only about 600 meters or so to the summit as the crow flies.   It was about a 1 km hike.    The second half was fairly steep

There were no tall trees on the summit.  There was an abundance of heavy brush.  I had my 20 foot mast and fastening it to the trekking pole which was guyed to the shrubs was fairly easy to do.   I was on a rock outcrop where I sat with my radio.  Scott and I split the bands with him starting on 60m and me on 20m.  I had three S2S’s today - with George KX0R on Genesee Mountain W0C/FR194 in Colorado, K9IR Paula on W0M/ES-001 on Webster HP in Amish country near Springfield Missouri and Tom WX4TW on Mt. Mitchell W4C/CM-001.  Scott made contacts with the same summits as I.   
On a summit, it is an amazingly quiet place with signals sounding loud even without tickling the strength s-meter on the radio.

Scott and I headed down the small manway of a trail – and soon we were on the Parkway bidding each other farewell.

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