Monday, February 28, 2011

Visiting the In-Laws

Saturday, February 26th, 2011

On Saturday, Amy and I took a trip up to Rutherfordton, NC to visit her parents.  Amy sister and our two nieces Grace and Caroline were also in town.  Here are some photos from our visit:

Daffodils

Amy's Dad churning up the fields

Amy's Dad


Grace and Amy's Mom going for a walk


Caroline

Grace

Grace and Caroline

Caroline

Caroline

Grace

Running up the Mulch Pile

Grace and Caroline


Grace and Caroline

Sunday, February 27, 2011

A New Waterfall!

We had heard rumors of a remote waterfall in the South Mountains Gamelands located on Sally Queen Creek.  So today we went to seek it out!  It was one heck of a bushwhacking adventure, but we achieved our goal!


Me at Sally Queen Creek Falls

Iggy at Sally Queen Creek Falls

Plenty more photos and a trip report to come later this week!

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Smokin'

For the past few months, my Father-in-Law Chris has been building a BBQ Smoker!  It is just about complete!  While we didn't cook on it, we did give it a trial run to check for any bugs and see what fine tuning needs to be done before the actualy cooking begins.  I think it will work just fine!

A few minor adjustments and a coat of paint and we will be Smokin!















Sunday, February 20, 2011

2011-02-20 Jumping-Off-Rock and Twin Falls

Jumping-Off-Rock and Twin Falls

Pickens County, SC
Sunday, February 20th, 2011


Group Photo at Jumping Off Rock

The full set of Photos is posted here:

I had a great hike today to Jumping-Off-Rock on Lake Jocassee with the Upstate Hiking and Outdoor Adventures Group.

From US178 we took Cleo Chapman Highway to Mill Creek Road. We parked at the end of the road by the gate just past a herd of barking/car chasing dogs. Just past the gate, the road turns to dirt which is where we began our hike.

We hiked the Mill Creek Road Trail and then turned right on Old Horse Pasture Road. Then left on Horse Pasture Road to the Jumping Off Rock Overlook. It is a 4.6 mile hike one way making for a 9.2 mile round trip Out and Back Hike.

Once we finished up the hike it was still earlier enough in the day to squeeze a short visit to Twin Falls. A short and easy quarter mile trail takes you to one of the most spectacular waterfalls in South Carolina.

Here are a few some shots from our hike: 

View of Lake Jocassee from Jumping-Off-Rock


Lake Jocassee


Kimberly and Caroline


Lake Jocassee


Iggy at Jumping-Off-Rock


Kimberly and Sam Rock Hopping across a creek


Twin Falls


Iggy at Twin Falls


My full set of photos is posted here:
http://community.webshots.com/album/579798891tdcONT

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Sign of Spring

The first Daffodil bloomed in our yard today.  Not to mention the 70 degree temperatures!  Spring is upon us!

Friday, February 18, 2011

Cute Little Austin Martin

Last night we hosted another Poker Night.  My buddy Jeff's wife Lori and son Austin came along to keep my wife Amy entertained.  Here are a few shots from last night of Little Austin:






Yummy Ice Cream!

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Little Hump and Big Yellow Mountain

Appalachian Trail
Avery County, NC
Sunday, February 13th, 2011

Photos are posted here:
http://outdoors.webshots.com/album/579773990ZbkLSC

A 2.5 hour drive (one way) means 5 hours of travelling! That’s a bit more than I normally like to do for a dayhike. However, Andy convinced me that this hike would be worth it. And the weather forecast made it the perfect day to visit some of the highest peaks along the Appalachian Trail.

I met Andy and Brenda in Marion, NC and we combined into one vehicle (Brenda's Xterra) from there. From Marion we took US221 to NC194 to US19E. About halfway between the Metropolises of Plumtree and Minneapolis, NC we turned left on Roaring Fork Road and headed up the mountain.

The higher we climbed, the more snow we saw. The paved portion of the road was mostly clear, but once the road turned to dirt, we would have been hard pressed to continue on without 4x4 and high ground clearance. Snow drifts over 2-feet deep remained in the shady areas.

Driving to the trailhead along Roaring Fork Road

We parked at the end of the road (just before the gate) and hit the trail. We started out hiking the Overmountain Victory Trail, a short spur trail that would connect us to the Appalachian Trail at Yellow Mountain Gap.

We took the AT to the east which climbs steeply to Little Hump Mountain. Most of the trail was covered by over a foot of snow which made for a much slower than normal hiking pace. Not to mention all the views which caused us to stop a pull out the cameras every few hundred feet!
View from the Appalachian Trail

Even though we were trekking through snow, we started shedding clothing. Andy and I were quickly down to just a t-shirt and were considering removing the legs from our zip-off pants.

That was until we left the tree sheltered area of the trail and entered the wide open exposed summit of Little Hump Mountain.
Hiking up towards the Summit of Little Hump Mountain

The open faced summit of Little Hump Mountain offers up 360-degree views. However it does not give any protection from the fierce and cold wind which was blowing some 50mph+ gusts! We quickly started layering up again.

Fortunately, just below the summit is an area with some huge boulders which blocked the worst of the wind and made for a nice spot to break for lunch.

Me at the Summit of Little Hump Mountain

 Our original plan was to continue on to Big Hump Mountain, but as the trail crossed the summit and headed into the trees on the North side of Little hump the snow was even deeper than what we had been through. Instead we decided to head to Big Yellow Mountain!

Again, once leaving the bald areas and entering into the trees, the snow cover became deep. Most of the time it seemed like only about 6-inches as there was a hard frozen layer a few inches below the surface. However, every so often, our feet would break through the frozen layer and our legs would plunge into about 2-feet of snow.

Boone and Brenda hiking through the snow

The summit of Big Yellow Mountain is a huge expanse of open area. The wind seemed to have gotten even more intense. On two separate occasions, my hat was blown off my head and almost got swept over the side of the mountain never to be seen again!

The views from Big Yellow are spectacular and we spent a good bit of time roaming around taking photographs. We hadn't seen another soul all day, but we did run across a group of (3) people on Big Yellow.

Andy, Brenda, and Boone on Big Yellow Mountain

On the hike back down we ran across another group of (5) people and then a stray dog that kept us company for the remainder of the hike and gave Boone a friend to play with.


Boone meets a new friend

We made a short detour to check out the "Red Barn" Appalachian Trail shelter before returning to Brenda's vehicle.

Andy was right! This was a great hike!  The weather was perfect and the scenery was spectacular.  Also, it was a pleasure to meet up with Brenda for the first time!

Overall, we hiked about 8-miles, but it seemed longer as much of the hike was through deep snow! This is definitely an area I plan on getting back to!

 Here is our estimated hike route and elevation/mileage profile:




My full set of photos is posted here:
http://outdoors.webshots.com/album/579773990ZbkLSC

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

The Best of Boone

Sunday, February 13th, 2011

I am almost finished going through all the photos from Sunday's hike.  Somehow I managed to take over 100 photos of Andy's Dog Boone.  I'll get the trip report and full set of photos posted tomorrow, but for now here is The Best of Boone!