Thursday, January 22, 2009

Frostbite camping in Linville Gorge

Last weekend 9 intrepid souls embarked on another great adventure to Linville Gorge in western NC. A camping trip to be sure but so much more. With temperatures below freezing during a majority of the trip it was also a test of ones love for the outdoors. We survived so I guess we pass. 
We drove west early Saturday morning stopping in Greensboro to pick up Adam and Cheng on the way to Linville Gorge (south entrance). In all, Dan, Mary, Matt, Chris, Will, Cheng, Adam, Taylor and I were among the select few who aggreed to freeze their own butts off in the mountains with a high chance of snow!
 We entered on old N 105 and drove up the West ridge to the entrance of Rock Jock Wilderness where we began a 45 min treck to the edge of the ridge where we happened upon a campsite that we decided to call home. From there we pitched tents (well some of us) and left for a day hike south along the ridge. We came across an awesome frozen overhang with ice cicles all over the place. After some ice cicle sword fighting we we returned to the campsite for some dinner. Since it was below freezing we promptly snuggled into our warm sleeping bags and managed to stay toasty warm all night. 

In the morning, we had a great breakfast of pancakes. Dan and Mary made sausage and biscuits while Matt, Chris and Will managed to pour what non frozen portion of their dozen eggs they had into a plastic bag with cheese and sausage for some big bag omlettes.  After a short hike out we continued north along the ridge to linville falls where we hiked in to see the frozen falls and some of the lookouts. 
Stopping at IHOP on the way home made for some great reflection of our trip and we were all in very good spirits on the drive home. We made it back Sunday late afternoon. Thanks to Dan, Matt and Adam for their parts in making the trip happen. 

Tuesday, January 06, 2009

LOOKOUT! .... sailing trip

Many changes since my last post of adventure but sailing, fun having and exiting adventure with friends remains as a theme. The weekend before last my lovely girlfriend and I grabbed the Core sound 20 Dawn Patrol and headed for the coast for a weekend of sailing and adventure around the shores of Lookout lighthouse. 

We arrived friday afternoon to a dying breeze but unseasonably warm weather and rowed out of Taylor Creek in Beaufort, NC bound for Shackleford banks to find a campsite for the night. We arrived after dark after being picked up by an evening wind. We set up camp as it began to drizzle and roasted some brauts for dinner over a driftwood fire. In the morning we were trapped until about 9am due to a rain storm that swept over us from the south but it soon passed and we made our way south east past Harkers island through Back Sound and toward Barden Inlet. 

We arrived at Lookout Lighthouse after the wind built to steady 15knots but the current was with us and it was an easy sail in shallow waters for the Core Sound 20. We exlpored the lightouse which was closed for renovations and ate lunch at the lightkeepers museum which was also closed for the winter. We also walked over to the ocean side of Lookout Bight and enjoyed a perfectly clear 65 degree day of sunshine. We shoved off to explore further into the bay and stopped to check out some shell covered beach before crossing to the far end of the bay to find a camp site. 

Here is the photographic trip report taken with the trusty Optio W20. 

We had the whole beach to ourselves and explored all around the peninsula which was covered in flat packed sand and sea grass. Very desolate and beautiful. Macaroni and cheese for dinner and a HUGE campsite all to ourselves was awesome and without a single cloud in the sky it was a perfect night for stargazing. I woke up around 2am to get a shot of the boat beached in the middle of low tide. But in the morning it was bobbing right next to the beach not 20 feet from the dunes.  We made pancakes and hot chocolate for breakfast and packed everything away ready for another day of great sailing and exploration. 

Our clear night didn't come cheap however and the morning also greeted us with a cooler wind shift from the North and gray clouds. We had the boat all packed up just as the rain hit and we watied for a break to shove off back through the inlet.  

The rain POURED as we battled up the inlet in steady 18knots but with the incoming tide we were fully reefed and having great fun but eventually the cold and wet soaked us through and with no sign of letting up at all that day or even afternoon we decided to call it a day and headed back to Beaufort to warm up. After we packed up and warmed up we had fun cruising the waterfront looking at boats and we spent an hour or two in the Maratime Museum in Beaufort. We decided to head home after the museum and to a nice warm bed having explored for the better part of 3 days.