Friday, March 9, 2012

Yesterday was one of the rare opportunities that my wife and I have had recently to hike together. I'm sure I was more excited about it than she was, my stride is a little long for most people! The weather was nice so we loaded up our dog, Cash and my hike buddy, Jeff and set off to Greeneville for a trip to Blackstack Cliffs, White Rocks, and the views off the ridge line trail off the AT.
Amber, Cash, and I on the ridge trail section of the AT

The hike to Blackstack cliffs is a short one and relatively easy, however to continue on to White Rocks requires a couple of miles hiking and some steep climbs and narrow trails....perfect! From Blackstack cliffs the AT follows the ridge to a trail intersection, from here you can take the Jerry Miller trail labeled "most difficult" or continue on the AT. We stuck with the AT and after about half a mile we came upon another intersection labeled by blue and white blazes. The blue blaze trail was known as the bad weather trail, and the white blaze (AT) was known as exposed ridge trail. The exposed ridge trail climbs steeply, leveling off on a narrow path where the mountain falls off steeply on either side.
walking along the ridge trail. 
After about another mile the White Rock cliffs start showing up, although they aren't as impressive they afford you an excellent view of the North Carolina mountain ranges in the distance. Pardon the photo's, the skies had become overcast limiting the visibility somewhat. Here's a look toward Mt. Mitchell.
Mt Mitchell rising in the distance 
The trail began a gentle decent toward the woods so we turned back and decided to ride over to the fire towers opposite of the parking area for the Blackstack cliffs. I had read that you can access the observation platform for breathtaking views, the only thing breathtaking we found was the razor wire strewn across the stairs to climb the tower.

Greene County welcome mat
 Although we couldn't climb the numerous towers, we still deemed our hike a success. I had just been to Viking Mountain a few days prior yet I saw things I hadn't even noticed on my first visit! Here's some photos of our hike yesterday, I hope you enjoy!

Cash and Amber, both bundled up for the wind on the mountain.       

Jeff enjoying the view toward Greeneville

dangling some dirty shoes over the cliffs off the ridge trail

just another reason to love the AT, clever trail markers.

The AT winding through some rock outcroppings.
Jeff snapping some photos from the ridge trail

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