Wednesday, February 20, 2019

Siler Bald - Wesser Bald Doubleheader

After two failed attempts at Siler Bald, we (Scott and I) finally made it on February 7, 2019.   The 1st was last year - during an attempted doubleheader with Wine Spring - we were only able to do Wine Spring because it started raining too hard.  The second one was a few weeks ago when we tried the same double - this time - yet again - only Wine Spring because the forest road gate was closed and we had to hike the forest road.

We were on the Appalachian Trail (AT) for most of the hike - then we went off trail to head to the summit.

Here is Scott KW4JM - on the AT

Here I am at the same point on the AT

The off trail hike was on a very wide and open ridge to the summit of Siler Bald

Here is the monument at Siler Bald summit - to prove I was there

Being that we are just off the AT by a few hundred yards - this family joined us at the summit.   The kids heard Morse code for the very first time.

The sun finally peaked through and the cloud cover unraveled the beautiful view

The second half of the day is the hike to Wesser Bald.   Weser Bald trailhead is but a short drive from the Siler Bald trailhead on Wayah Rd.  We went north on Wayah Rd and then a right turn at Otter Creek Rd which takes us to the Wesser Bald trailhead.

Here we are approaching the observation deck at the summit.  It is a rebuilt fire tower on a steel frame.

The views from the observation deck were spectacular

Showing a seemingly endless sea of mountains

Wednesday, February 6, 2019

Shumont Mtn - Bear Wallow Mtn Doubleheader

This was another late day outing.  KW4JM and I met at the Post Office in Bat Cave and proceeded to park at a nearby Baptist Church.   We took the 4WD to Shumont.   The parking area requires a permit to have access (gate is a combination lock accessible to open by permit holders).   The trail leading to the parking area after the gate is a rough gravel road.  Once at the trailhead, the trail first leads to Eagle Rock to the left - and so we took in the views from Eagle Rock.  We then proceeded to the junction and made the right turn off the Eagle Rock spur to Shumont.   The trail along the ridge is nice and wide.  The summit comes to a small peak with very small area for two activators.   To avoid interference - one should set up a little further down in the AZ.

A 360 degree view movie at the summit of Shumont Mountain

The gate - go through this gate to get into the parking area.

Our first stop was Eagle Rock for photos.  Here is KW4JM

The view from Eagle Rock

That is the view with the Shumont peak in the background

Me - at Eagle Rock

A view of Lake Lure in the distance

Another view of Lake Lure from the summit of Shumont

Operating position at the Shumont Peak

A surprise contact from ZL1BYZ

It is only about a 3 mile drive to the Bearwallow trailhead.  There are a couple of options once you reach the trailhead - hike the trail or hike the fire road.   We chose the latter as it is easier both up and down.   The distance is about the same.  The summit is both large and open with plenty of space for multiple activators.

The gravel road leading up to the summit

Ice and snow along the trail

Antenna farm at the summit

Another contact with a chaser from New Zealand ZL1BYZ

W4C/CM-016 Walker Bald

A late day outing - we (KW4JM and I) met at Home Depot off US74 and then drove to Maggie Valley to the Ski Resort of Cataloochie Farm.  We asked one of the homeowners for permission as the gate is closed with purple paint (no trespassing).   We got our permission and crossed over the barbed wire fence.  The most eventful portion of the hike is the pants leg getting caught in a barb. Also the road to the trail head at Triple Gate road would do well with a 4WD vehicle.  The trail is a beautiful and well marked by previous hikers with various color blazes.

There were plenty of areas to set up at the summit and the views were beautiful.  The hike was short - 1 km with modest vertical.

More pictures to follow:

More than just one summit in a single day?

The following are categorized as either home runs, tripleheaders or doubleheaders.   In my short career as an activator - I have yet to do more than two per day.   But based on experience, namely that of K4KPK (Kevin Kleinfelder) and that of KW4JM (Scott Carter) and also my own thinking, I think three and even 4 are possible.   K4KPK probably has done most of the list below as it is a conglomeration of his favorites and my ideas of what is possible.   This list will get updated over time.  The ones in bold are the ones I have already done.

Home Runs (4 Summits in One Day)

  • W4C - Western Mountains:  Mt Hardy (10), Rough Butt (10) Richland Balsam (10) and Steestachee (10) High Country: Dyer Mountain (8), Flat Top Mountain (4WD required) (8), Cowpen Mountain (10), Bald Mountain (10)- 52 points with Winter Bonus.  Right now doable with that section of the BRP Open
  • W4C - Western Mountains:  Richland (10), Steestachee, Barnett (8), Waterrock (10). Possible only if the BRP is open past MM 436 - after the BRP opens that section 38 pts (no winter bonus)
Tripleheader (3 Summits in One Day)
  • W4C Central: Black Balsam (10), Green Knob (CM-023) (8), Mt Pisgah (10) - 28 points
  • W4C Central: Mt. Mitchell (10), Green Knob (CM-020) (8), Craggy Dome (10) - 28 points
  • W4G North Georgia: Brasstown Bald, Bell Knob, Ravencliff Bald (28 pts)
  • W4G HC: Dyer, Cowpen, Bald (28 pts)
  • W4C WM: Clingman’s Dome, Nettle Creek Bald, Barnett Knob (26 pts)
  • W4C WM: Clingman’s Dome, Nettle Creek Bald, Cowee (28 pts)
  • W4C WM: Winespring, Siler, Wesser (26 pts) - before December 15 FS closes
  • W4G NG: Rabun Bald, Blackrock Mtn, Bell Knob
  • W4C WM: Richland, Waterrock, Barnett (28 pts)
  • W4G NG: Rocky Mountain (W4G/NG-011), Blue Mountain, Wildcat (28 pts)
  • W4C WM: Shortoff Mtn, Yellow Mtn, Whiteside Mtn (24 pts)
  • W4C WM:  Huckleberry, Stratton, Hemlock
  • W4G HG: Brasstown, Ravencliff, Bell Knob or Glassy Mtn
  • W4C US: Sassafras, Pinnacle, Table Rock (12 pts plus 9 bonus if done in winter - using a one way hike through 3 summits mostly downhill)
Doubleheaders (2 Summits in One Day)
  • Shumont, Bearwallow (16 pts)
  • Winespring, Siler 
  • Winespring, North Eaglenest (18 pts)
  • Walker Bald, North Eaglenest (18 pts)
  • Rocky Mtn, Tray Mtn (20 pts)
  • Blue Mountain, Brasstown Bald (20 pts)
  • Shortoff, Yellow (16 pts)
  • Siler, Wesser (16 pts)
  • Blood Mtn, Coosa Mtn (20 pts)
  • Richland, Waterrock (20 pts)
  • Clingman's Dome, Nettle Creek Bald (18 pts)