|Amber's back on the trail!|
|Linville Gorge behind me.|
|Table Rock to the left and Shortoff in the gorge (center)|
|Amber at the summit!|
When the chance to actually hike with my wife and our friend, Misty arrived I knew that they would love the mountain as much as me. The morning of the hike we almost decided on hiking to Grandfather Mountain but after calling only to find out all trails were closed, I made the decision for them, we would tackle the Hawk. The trail head is just a mile from the mountain's summit, but it gains some serious elevation in between. I hike so often that I had to stop several times on my way up to wait on the girls to catch up. Being a weekend day, the trail was crowded with fellow hikers but most appeared to be back packers who were hiking out as we made our way up the mountain. The final stretch of trail is rutted badly and pretty much straight up. The water that had drained across the rocks was frozen so we had to watch our step. When the trail levels, it is at one of the better campsites in all of North Carolina. To the left is Table Rock Mountain, Shortoff Mountain, and views of the Linville Gorge, to the right is the summit of Hawksbill slightly obscured by the underbrush you have to hike through to get there. We chose to hike toward Table Rock and a downhill trail and avoid the crowd of trail workers gathered at the summit. I had found a sweet little rock outcrop nestled on the side of the gorge my last trip, and was delighted to see it was free for us to have our lunch along the gorges edge. Misty and Amber are both bigger daredevils than I, and took turns having their photos made dangerously close to the edge. I eventually gained a little nerve and also had my photo made looking over the Linville Gorge.
|Misty always the "one upper"|
|I could have sat there all day.|
|One of my best friends.|
After our break, I noticed the trail workers gathering the belongings at the top and we hiked on up so that we could dangle our feet off the edge and take some even more epic photos. We were joined by an older couple and they were full of information about the distant mountain ranges and even the "ugly ass" hotel that breaks the ridge line between Grandfather Mountain and the Roan Highlands. The weather was perfect and having Amber and Misty with me was a welcome change to my usual hiking. We all had our turns sitting on the large rock protruding from the mountain side and Cash took turns being held so that he wouldn't run off into oblivion. There really isn't a bad place for photos on the whole mountain, I would recommend going and finding out for yourself and until next time... happy trails!
|waterproofing for some waterfalling|
|crossing the top of Upper Creek Falls|
|Upper Creek Falls (100ft)|