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Roan highlands on a beautiful day October 26, 2010

Posted by Jenny in hiking, peakbagging, Southern Appalachians.
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Gary and I enjoyed sunshine and fall colors

Gary, my old buddy from New College, came from Cary, North Carolina, to Bakersville, North Carolina, to participate in a gathering of N.C. NC-ers. I had other plans for the Saturday, but the next morning, October 17, I met Gary in Bakersville and we drove up to Carver’s Gap (elev. 5512) for a short hike  north on the A.T.

The A.T. in the Roans in October is populated by an odd mix of people: folks strolling a short distance from the Gap to take in a bit of foliage (I’m not sure why it’s only referred to as foliage when it’s colorful and not when it’s green); hikers like me and Gary engaged in moderate outings; weekend backpackers, and peakbaggers working on the South Beyond 6000. You can bag three of them in the vicinity: Roan High Knob (6285′), Roan High Bluff (6267′), and Grassy Ridge Bald (6160′).

The SB6K peakbagging quest hasn’t grabbed me, though I’ve done quite a bit of peakbagging in other regions. I think my focus has shifted to exploring up streams and ridges instead of conquering summits. I’ll irritate my peakbagging friends here by saying that the summits don’t seem as challenging to me!

It was another gorgeous day that made me picture someone yodeling on the heights (that is, someone other than myself), just as it was the day before on Leadmine Ridge.  Brilliant sunshine, glowing colors, a lightness and brightness about everything that I wished I could inhale into my lungs and just keep there in reserve for some dreary November day.

I took quite a few pictures. Due to a tedious technical glitch (I won’t bore you with the details), I lost all but two of them. So you will just have to take my word for it that Gary and I walked north for 1.9 miles, wending our way along the undulations of this remarkable high-elevation ridge, and turned south to reach Grassy Ridge Bald. After snacking next to a monument that had heartfelt poetry with an awful lot of rhyming in it, all etched in bronze, we continued past the high point and explored the fading footpath as it ran through the thick, entwining vegetation of laurel and myrtle and rhodo. At the snub end of the ridge, we could see other interesting route possibilities running in different directions, but I suspect they’re mostly on private land.

Here is my other photo.

Mountain ash berries in foreground, "foliage" in background

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