A bucket list of adventures starring Sleepy, Hiking Geer, Gusto, Helpdesk, Rolling Peach and Pepe'

Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Shining Rock Wilderness Area

Gusto and I (Helpdesk) did a short one night trip on the Art Loeb Trail in the Shining Rock Wilderness Area.  We started off on a Friday just after lunch time and headed north for what turned out to be about 8 miles. It wasn’t that far to Flower Gap (our camp site) but we walked a few miles checking out other camp site options and looking for water.  The site that we really wanted had grown up over the last 20 years since Gusto had been in the area, it was my first trip so I had no clue where the best spots were.  The views were spectacular as you will see from some of the photos.  Anyway, back to the adventure.  After blazing a new trail where an old trail once existed (or so I was told) we decided that the camp spot had just grown up too much and didn’t offer the views of 20 years ago.  At that point we backtracked to Flower Gap and decided to set up camp there.  However, before we unpacked we continued north for a few hundred yards looking for the spring that would provide us the much needed water for dinner and our trip back.  We found the water but not until we had some additional fun following a rather muddy, somewhat pitiful stream (if you could even call it a stream).  We didn’t find enough water in this area to even begin to pool and filter.  Back to the trail we went and walked north a bit more, I mean like 200 feet or so and bam, there it was a natural spring with water pooling into a nice area where we could easily dip water into our water bag for filtering.  Having gathered the water we headed back to make camp.  It took no time to set up the tent and get our gear stowed away for later.  We didn’t waste a lot of time before hunger sat in and so Gusto brought out his two cat food can stoves.  That’s right we had a couple of empty cat food cans (lid removed) with holes punched around the outside walls.  Add some denatured alcohol and a match and soon you have heat and within no time we had boiling water for our freeze dried meals.  Well, Gusto had a freeze dried dinner, I had a couple of instant oatmeal containers.   After dinner we watched a nice sunset and were able to enjoy the evening under a bright, almost full moon.  So bright we didn’t need headlamps at all.  It was bright enough to almost read.  You certainly could move about with no issue and to be honest the time snuck up on us since it never seemed to get very dark.  We finally called it a night sometime after midnight.  The wind blew all night long (and no nothing that we ate!)  it was just a windy night out and from what I later understood, Flower Gap is known for high winds.  The tent was stressed at times but held up just fine.  With rain threatening on Saturday we had decided to get up around 7am to break camp and hit the trail back to the car.  We took a different route back that was along an old logging road and was a much shorter and faster walk.  Now in this area of the park you have to have a “Bear Container” to store your food items as of about a year ago.  We never saw a bear (well I think I imaged one as we were about halfway to the car).  But we did see some fairly fresh tracks along the logging road.  It was a much shorter walk out so about an hour and a half later we were back at the car and heading toward Brevard for some lunch.  Overall excellent trip!

Below is our route.  The Blue line is the Art Loeb Trail all the way to Shining Rock.  We didn’t walk the entire trail we stopped, as I mentioned, in Flower Gap to set up camp.  The black circles marks the route back so were those two come together is where we camped. 
Art Loeb Trail-Edit
Here are some of the views.
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Hopefully we will make it back to this area again before the next 20 years.  Don’t think I could do it then.