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NC Peakbagging, San Juan WA CoHP

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  • dillmore
    I recently went on two short trips. The first was the weekend before Christmas to do some CoHPs and prominence peaks in North Carolina. The second was San
    Message 1 of 2 , Jan 6, 2008
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      I recently went on two short trips. The first was the weekend before
      Christmas to do some CoHPs and prominence peaks in North Carolina. The
      second was San Juan county on Orcas island. I've combined both here.

      December 22, 2007



      Had the car packed up and ready to go Friday night for an early Saturday
      start. Weather forecast looked OK, not dipping below 40 at night so I
      decided to take my dog Leon. Got up at 4:45 am and was on the road by
      5:15. First objective was Frosty Knob.



      Frosty Knob (4,246' P1146)

      The summit and western slopes are owned by a youth camp. I called ahead
      for access, which was easily granted after filling out a waiver. E-mail
      me for contact info. The camp is 3 miles off of US 276 a few miles
      north of Asheville. The camp manager suggested the hike was about 4
      miles round-trip, starting on an old gravel road and ending in a
      bushwhack up the western slope. Leon and I had a good time, with a
      scenic wooded walk past some hanging nets for climbing and other camp
      activities. Looks like it would be a fun place for kids. We followed
      the road to its end at a pond with four cabins and a primitive camping
      area. From here, there was a trail that was blue blazed but hard to
      follow at times as the trail was covered in leaf fall. We proceeded on
      the trail in the general direction of the summit, and soon crossed an
      old jeep track that was no longer maintained. At this point the blazes
      pretty much stopped. We followed the track in a southerly direction,
      hoping it would lead us to the summit, but I gave up on it when it was
      clear it was taking us further from the top. From here, it was
      bushwhacking northeast through forest. The trees were not densely
      packed, but leaves obscured the ground, making foot placement tricky to
      avoid injury. This slowed me down a bit. Leon was less sure of our
      path now, and gave me quizzical glances from time to time. We headed
      west, gaining the main ridge about an eighth of a mile south of the
      summit after about a third of a mile of bushwhacking. There was a use
      trail here, and a few pieces of flagging was evident. We made it to the
      top and were greeted with a stiff wind. We found the summit benchmark
      stamped "Frosty 1934" at the highest point of the peak. Not
      much to be had in the way of views due to the clouds and trees, but a
      clear day would give nice views to the east.



      We hung out at the summit for about 10 minutes then headed down. We
      took a more direct but steeper route back to the pond, found the road
      with little trouble and made it back to the car.



      Overall an enjoyable, moderate hike. Round trip 4.2 miles with
      1700' elevation gain. Time: 2 hours 55 minutes



      Pinnacle (5,665' P445), McDowell NC CoHP



      Unfortunately, the Blue Ridge Parkway was closed, so I had to take a
      circuitous route. This entailed heading north to US-19, then heading
      east through Burnsville and south on NC-80.



      I had seen that Phillips Knob, just north of Burnsville, is also a P1k+
      peak. I made a quick detour to attempt to drive to the top, but with
      recent rains and an unpaved road, I was worried about the ability of the
      Camry to make the trip. After getting back home I researched further
      and found that a jeep road goes to the top, but certainly isn't
      driveable by a sedan in poor conditions. I passed on Phillips Knob at
      this time to make sure I could reach the other objectives I had planned.



      Anyhow, NC-80 intersected with the Parkway, and I headed west, climbing
      into a thick fog. I had no problem finding a parking spot near the
      white gate on the BRP due north of the summit. The trail mentioned in
      previous trip reports – not maintained but quite obvious – led
      to the summit. The trail had a few spots of ice on it, but these were
      easily avoided. A final bit of scrambling found us at the top after
      just over a half mile. The dog, never an enthusiastic scrambler,
      struggled with the rocks a bit. Couldn't find the benchmark, but we
      didn't look long as there were no views, it was pretty windy and 35
      degrees, and we needed to find a camping spot for the next day.



      Round trip: 1.1 miles, 500' gain, 40 minutes



      Overnight



      We backtracked all the way to Asheville via NC-80 and US-19. All nearby
      public campgrounds were closed for the winter, so we took a private
      ground for $20 just north of Dellwood on US 276. The rest of the
      patrons were in RVs or trailers on small lots in this campground. This
      seemed to be a drunken camper convention. Sleep was OK until a storm
      system moved in, dumping rain at 3:30 am and lifting tossing our tent
      around. By 7am we began packing up, but I put the dog in the car as it
      was pouring. Everything got filthy and wet, so I crammed it into the
      trunk and set off for Crabtree.



      Crabtree Bald (5,320+' P2720) and Sandymush Bald Madison, NC
      CoHP(5,152', P492)



      To get to the "trailhead," we took off on I-40 to exit 24,
      heading north on NC 208, turning right on Upper Crabtree and then taking
      a left on Bald Creek Road. I located the old Messer place, with the
      mailbox (3207) still there, and parked at a gate on the driveway. The
      house was abandoned, with the junked car in the front yard. Peter Barr
      is trying to arrange permanent access through a new housing development
      that is going up here, and he secured access for me. He has requested
      that anyone wishing to approach this route go through him, as the issue
      will become more sensitive once residences are actually built. Edward
      Earl's recent report also suggests an alternative approach that I didn't
      scope out.



      Leon and I hopped out, and took a gravel road about 2 miles to a col.
      We took a couple of wrong turns, first taking a road to the left of one
      that had a new concrete bridge. This cost us about 0.6 miles and an
      additional 300' of gain. My advice for anyone else taking this
      route is to follow the concrete bridge and then try to follow what looks
      to be the most maintained road. The good news was that the weather was
      clearing, with no sign of the cold wet weather we experienced the night
      before. By the time we reached the col it was sunny and about 45
      degrees.



      To get to Crabtree's summit, we followed an old jeep road, making for
      fast travel, except for a steep portion where the mud caused a lot of
      falling and losing ground. We got to the top, with a repeater and old
      shack. The summit offered gorgeous views. I've heard that one can
      see all 6000+' peaks from the summit, but I don't know the
      geography well enough to verify this. We spent about 5 minutes on the
      summit, but knew we had a lot of work ahead of us and were quickly on
      our way.



      We retraced our steps to the col at the end of the gravel road. Our
      plan was to stay on the ridgeline, going over a few 300' hills on
      our way to Sandymush. A fenced pasture on the north side of the ridge
      wasn't posted, but we wanted to avoid going on private property so
      we bushwhacked through a thorny but not too dense forest along a fence
      that marked the ridge. We went over the first minor summit, but the
      ridge was starting to be completely overtaken by the fence, and seeing
      no postings we went under the fence. We found an old jeep road and
      followed that for quite a while, making for much faster travel again.
      We passed a bench set atop a bald at the second summit along the ridge,
      the summit just southwest of Buckeye Gap. As we descended into Buckeye
      Gap, we saw a gravel road that crossed the gap, with a house well
      southeast of a gap and a metal gate on the northwest side. We quickly
      crossed the gravel road and went up yet another hill. As we approached
      the hill crest, we encountered a metal gate that was posted, but in the
      direction we were coming from. This was the first indication that we
      may have been trespassing, but since no name or number was on the
      placard I couldn't tell if this was owned by the contact that had
      granted access or not.



      We proceeded onward, as the direction we were traveling was not posted,
      and we soon reached the tricounty junction at 5000'. Near the top
      were nice views and a fire ring. From here we traveled down an ATV
      track through a forest, and crossed a fence that was posted again with
      no name or number. We made it to Sandymush, I took a couple of pictures
      then hustled back. Some nasty clouds were coming in from the north,
      confirming the forecast for bad weather in the late afternoon.



      We retraced our path to the road terminus. The ups and downs of the
      ridge were more difficult on the way back, probably due to me not hiking
      much in the past few months.



      We made it back to our car after the dull walk down the gravel road.
      With the wrong turns, our round trip distance was 12.2 miles with about
      4600' of elevation gain. A nice workout that took my dog and me 5
      hours and 50 minutes.



      I'm pretty sure we were trespassing at the end, and although I was
      glad I made it to Sandymush and Crabtree in the same hike, I'd have
      to recommend the Sandymush route Patrick Craft describes on his
      summitpost.org page.



      Leon was thoroughly wiped after this weekend, and was asleep within 30
      seconds of returning to the car.

      Mt Constitution (2,407' P2407) San Juan county CoHP, WA



      January 3, 2008

      At the tail end of a trip visiting friends in Canada, my wife and I
      headed out to Orcas Island. This is obviously off-season, and we
      enjoyed our visit to the sleepy island.

      I planned on driving the summit road to the top with my wife, but signs
      indicated it was closed 3.7 miles from the summit. My wife, not a lover
      of hiking, gamely suggested "Well, you better get cracking if you want
      us to catch the ferry." She graciously offered to visit some shops in
      town while I hiked to the top. I took a loop that started up the Little
      Summit trail, went along a ridgeline and to the observation tower. Like
      an idiot, I ditched my hiking boots in favor of tennis shoes. Snow
      began at about 1600', and my feet got cold trudging through the snow.
      An overlook along the trail gave great views to the east. The summit
      was very windy, and I spent only a few minutes at the top before
      descending via the Twin Lakes and Mountain Lakes trail.

      The hike was about 6.8 miles with 1500' of gain and took me 2 hours and
      50 minutes. I thoroughly enjoyed this one.



      Shannon



      [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
    • Grant Myers
      Shannon, Mt. Constitution was a good choice for this time of year given the amount of snow we ve had around here lately. Sumas Mtn. would have been
      Message 2 of 2 , Jan 10, 2008
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        Shannon,

        Mt. Constitution was a good choice for this time of
        year given the amount of snow we've had around here
        lately. Sumas Mtn. would have been difficult;lots of
        snow up high & & very muddy down low. I was out on
        Orcas last year finishing off that island's p. 400'
        summits (there are 7 of them) & noticed the road was
        gated when I did Mt. Pickett. I did Mt. Constitution
        as a hike some years ago & its a pleasant one. Good
        job picking up a Co. HP & p2k summit!
        Grant
        --- dillmore <sdillmore@...> wrote:

        >
        > I recently went on two short trips. The first was
        > the weekend before
        > Christmas to do some CoHPs and prominence peaks in
        > North Carolina. The
        > second was San Juan county on Orcas island. I've
        > combined both here.
        >
        > December 22, 2007
        >
        >
        >
        > Had the car packed up and ready to go Friday night
        > for an early Saturday
        > start. Weather forecast looked OK, not dipping
        > below 40 at night so I
        > decided to take my dog Leon. Got up at 4:45 am and
        > was on the road by
        > 5:15. First objective was Frosty Knob.
        >
        >
        >
        > Frosty Knob (4,246' P1146)
        >
        > The summit and western slopes are owned by a youth
        > camp. I called ahead
        > for access, which was easily granted after filling
        > out a waiver. E-mail
        > me for contact info. The camp is 3 miles off of US
        > 276 a few miles
        > north of Asheville. The camp manager suggested the
        > hike was about 4
        > miles round-trip, starting on an old gravel road and
        > ending in a
        > bushwhack up the western slope. Leon and I had a
        > good time, with a
        > scenic wooded walk past some hanging nets for
        > climbing and other camp
        > activities. Looks like it would be a fun place for
        > kids. We followed
        > the road to its end at a pond with four cabins and a
        > primitive camping
        > area. From here, there was a trail that was blue
        > blazed but hard to
        > follow at times as the trail was covered in leaf
        > fall. We proceeded on
        > the trail in the general direction of the summit,
        > and soon crossed an
        > old jeep track that was no longer maintained. At
        > this point the blazes
        > pretty much stopped. We followed the track in a
        > southerly direction,
        > hoping it would lead us to the summit, but I gave up
        > on it when it was
        > clear it was taking us further from the top. From
        > here, it was
        > bushwhacking northeast through forest. The trees
        > were not densely
        > packed, but leaves obscured the ground, making foot
        > placement tricky to
        > avoid injury. This slowed me down a bit. Leon was
        > less sure of our
        > path now, and gave me quizzical glances from time to
        > time. We headed
        > west, gaining the main ridge about an eighth of a
        > mile south of the
        > summit after about a third of a mile of
        > bushwhacking. There was a use
        > trail here, and a few pieces of flagging was
        > evident. We made it to the
        > top and were greeted with a stiff wind. We found
        > the summit benchmark
        > stamped "Frosty 1934" at the highest point of the
        > peak. Not
        > much to be had in the way of views due to the clouds
        > and trees, but a
        > clear day would give nice views to the east.
        >
        >
        >
        > We hung out at the summit for about 10 minutes then
        > headed down. We
        > took a more direct but steeper route back to the
        > pond, found the road
        > with little trouble and made it back to the car.
        >
        >
        >
        > Overall an enjoyable, moderate hike. Round trip 4.2
        > miles with
        > 1700' elevation gain. Time: 2 hours 55 minutes
        >
        >
        >
        > Pinnacle (5,665' P445), McDowell NC CoHP
        >
        >
        >
        > Unfortunately, the Blue Ridge Parkway was closed, so
        > I had to take a
        > circuitous route. This entailed heading north to
        > US-19, then heading
        > east through Burnsville and south on NC-80.
        >
        >
        >
        > I had seen that Phillips Knob, just north of
        > Burnsville, is also a P1k+
        > peak. I made a quick detour to attempt to drive to
        > the top, but with
        > recent rains and an unpaved road, I was worried
        > about the ability of the
        > Camry to make the trip. After getting back home I
        > researched further
        > and found that a jeep road goes to the top, but
        > certainly isn't
        > driveable by a sedan in poor conditions. I passed
        > on Phillips Knob at
        > this time to make sure I could reach the other
        > objectives I had planned.
        >
        >
        >
        > Anyhow, NC-80 intersected with the Parkway, and I
        > headed west, climbing
        > into a thick fog. I had no problem finding a
        > parking spot near the
        > white gate on the BRP due north of the summit. The
        > trail mentioned in
        > previous trip reports – not maintained but quite
        > obvious – led
        > to the summit. The trail had a few spots of ice on
        > it, but these were
        > easily avoided. A final bit of scrambling found us
        > at the top after
        > just over a half mile. The dog, never an
        > enthusiastic scrambler,
        > struggled with the rocks a bit. Couldn't find the
        > benchmark, but we
        > didn't look long as there were no views, it was
        > pretty windy and 35
        > degrees, and we needed to find a camping spot for
        > the next day.
        >
        >
        >
        > Round trip: 1.1 miles, 500' gain, 40 minutes
        >
        >
        >
        > Overnight
        >
        >
        >
        > We backtracked all the way to Asheville via NC-80
        > and US-19. All nearby
        > public campgrounds were closed for the winter, so we
        > took a private
        > ground for $20 just north of Dellwood on US 276.
        > The rest of the
        > patrons were in RVs or trailers on small lots in
        > this campground. This
        > seemed to be a drunken camper convention. Sleep was
        > OK until a storm
        > system moved in, dumping rain at 3:30 am and lifting
        > tossing our tent
        > around. By 7am we began packing up, but I put the
        > dog in the car as it
        > was pouring. Everything got filthy and wet, so I
        > crammed it into the
        > trunk and set off for Crabtree.
        >
        >
        >
        > Crabtree Bald (5,320+' P2720) and Sandymush Bald
        > Madison, NC
        > CoHP(5,152', P492)
        >
        >
        >
        > To get to the "trailhead," we took off on I-40 to
        > exit 24,
        > heading north on NC 208, turning right on Upper
        > Crabtree and then taking
        > a left on Bald Creek Road. I located the old Messer
        > place, with the
        > mailbox (3207) still there, and parked at a gate on
        > the driveway. The
        > house was abandoned, with the junked car in the
        > front yard. Peter Barr
        > is trying to arrange permanent access through a new
        > housing development
        > that is going up here, and he secured access for me.
        > He has requested
        > that anyone wishing to approach this route go
        > through him, as the issue
        > will become more sensitive once residences are
        > actually built. Edward
        > Earl's recent report also suggests an alternative
        > approach that I didn't
        > scope out.
        >
        === message truncated ===



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