Wednesday, October 5, 2016

2016-09-30 Shining Rock Hike with Brenda

Shining Rock Hike with Brenda
Shining Rock Wilderness, NC
Friday, September 30th, 2016

Brenda and me at Shining Rock

I took a vacation day from work on Friday to join Brenda on a hike into the Shining Rock Wilderness of North Carolina.  Since I needed to finish up by around 3:00pm we decided to get an early start. 

I decided to get an even earlier start to make it up to the Blue Ridge Parkway in time for sunrise.  This was definitely worth the 5:00am wake up time!

 Morning Twilight over Looking Glass Rock from the Blue Ridge Parkway

Morning Twilight along the Blue Ridge Parkway

 Morning Twilight along the Blue Ridge Parkway

 Sunrise from the Blue Ridge Parkway

Sunrise along the Blue Ridge Parkway


After sunrise I met up with Brenda and we started our hike up the Art Loeb Trail from the FR816 Trailhead.  Since the trailhead starts at just below 5,900 feet, the climb up to the 6,200 foot Black Balsam Knob was short and relatively easy.

The early start rewarded us with views above clouds!

 Early Morning at Black Balsam Knob

 A great spot to set up a tent!

 view from Black Balsam Knob

 Black Balsam Knob Panorama

Islands in a Sea of Clouds


We continued on along the ridge line to the summit of Tennent Mountain where the awesome views continued!
Brenda at Tennent Mountain

view from Tennent Mountain

Brenda at the Center of a Tennent Mountain Panorama

 Clouds Above Clouds

 Me at Tennent Mountain

We descend down to Ivestor Gap and continued on the Art Leob Trail past Grassy Cove Top, Flower Knob and on to Shining Rock where we took a nice break for lunch and to enjoy the views and the very unique White Quartz Mountaintop!

Shining Rock

 Brenda at Shining Rock

view from Shining Rock

Rather than going back the way we came, we decided to make the return hike via a Figure 8 Loop taking the easy Ivestor Gap Trail back to Ivestor Gap.

Shining Rock Wilderness Sign at Ivestor Gap
Looking up at Grassy Cove Top

 GPS Track from our Hike

For Brenda's Interactive GPS link clink here:
http://brendajwiley.com/gps/black_balsam_shining_rock.html


From Ivestor Gap we took the Graveyard Ridge Trail which took us about 500-feet below the ridge line we hiked earlier in the day.


Looking up at the tiny Humans on top of Tennent Mountain

The highlight of this section of trail was the incredible display of Monarch Butterflies!  I have never seen this many butterflies in one spot!  I could not capture the mass number of butterflies in any of my photos but I did convince a few individual specimens to pose for me!


 Monarch Butterfly along the Graveyard Ridge Trail

 Another Type of Butterfly along the Graveyard Ridge Trail

 Monarch Butterfly along the Graveyard Ridge Trail

Monarch Butterfly along the Graveyard Ridge Trail


The last stretch of trail was a short but steep section of the Mountains-to-Sea (MST) back up to the trailhead parking area along FR816

 View from the Mountains to Sea Trail

Brenda along the Mountains to Sea Trail

Me along the Mountains to Sea Trail at the Yellowstone Prong Headwaters

We finished up right at 3:00pm giving me plenty of time to make it back to Spartanburg and accompany my wife Amy at her Company Picnic.

Jack and Amy Swing Selfie at the JM Smith Corp Company Picnic

 Amy and Jack Ferris Wheel Selfie at the JM Smith Corp Company Picnic

Ferris Wheel Sunset over the JM Smith Corp Company Picnic

This was an awesome day!

The complete set of photos is posted here:
https://www.flickr.com/photos/8146392@N05/sets/72157674761232995



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