Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Linville Gorge - Day 1 (March 31)

Tiff skipped town to Chicago to run a half-marathon in her 13th state, leaving me with the boys.  That meant - peakbagging!  The plans were probably too much for a 10-year old hobbled dog, so I dropped Leon off at the in-laws Friday night and packed for the trip.

Only 3 hours after our scheduled 5am departure, we headed for Linville Gorge.  A healthy breakfast of donuts and coffee (Mom's outta town!) along the way, donuts and coffee-induced farts in the car (go wild, it's Mom's car!) and we're reach the Kistler Memorial "Highway" on the west side of Linville Gorge at noon, heading south.  Our first objective, Dogback Mountain (3,540'), was an easy 0.1 mile round-tripper off the road, but with great views of Hawksbill and Table Rock. 
Brogan and Gus posing for a terrible photographer - I hid Table Rock behind a tree
A hop back in the car and a few mile drive to an open white gate off to the right - we take this 2.7 miles to a small parking area for Dobson Knob (3,700', one of North Carolina's 95 peaks with 1,000' of prominence), our longer hike of the day.

The first mile or so of the hike is on an old jeep trail.  We pass the time in true Dillmore dorkiness - Brogan insisting on math problems after every 0.1 miles, doing well on addition and multiplication but experiencing problems distinguishing between velocity, distance and time.  Gus, wanting to participate, trots up after the first mile or so with a very self-satisified look on his face.  Did he just figure out how to split the atom?  Did he just prove that P=NP*? No, but close...he rubbed himself with Unidentified Animal Feces (UAF)!!!  Because it is smart to smell like the excrement of a wild animal (who apparently had Mexican food and beer the night before).
* - bzzzt!  If you got this reference without google, you are even more hopeless than I am.

The UAF stripe on the shoulder really ties his ensemble together - and guarantees him a lot of space in the tent
 After many washings in puddles, admonitions from Brogan and verbal affirmations from me that yes, he is the male offspring of a female dog, we are on our way again.  Soon the road becomes a foot trail - the Mountains To Sea Trail in fact.  I remark to Brogan that this is the same trail that passes within a mile and a half of our house back in Raleigh, and that we travel this same trail often.  He, being five, has not yet learned how to politely hide the fact that he could not possibly be less impressed.  Which then makes me wonder about my daily interactions with other adults...

Anyway, after about 2 miles we see an unmarked path heading off to the summit of Dobson Knob.  I hand the GPS off to Brogan, who likes to watch the mileage decrease as he approaches the summit. 

Literally following the shortest line to the summit.  Metaphorically following in his Dad's footsteps.  The over/under on age he first kisses a girl is 18.4
We reach the summit (sic) and shatter the ethos of the wilderness with a cell call to Mom.  No more peaks on the agenda today, so it's time to find a campsite and settle in, right?  Well, no.  See, a small distance away the topo map indicates two contours that are the same height as the marked summit, meaning we can't be sure that we reached the true summit of Dobson Knob.  So, we tack on an extra mile to visit the other areas.  I have great difficulty explaining this to my five year old, which means
  • it's probably too complicated
  • there's hope for him yet

    Tromping to the summit(L)/[thought bubble] Oh no!  P=NP has terrible implications for the future of cryptography!!! (R)
The rest of the hike is rather uneventful.  We find GPS readings on the other contours to be 25' lower than the marked summit on the topo map.  We also see lots of tadpoles in the puddles on the way back.  Brogan is proud to set his one-day hiking record of 6.19 miles (boo 1!) and 1225' of elevation gain.

We take our pick of the numerous fantastic sites available on the west rim of Linville Gorge and settle in for the night.  Mac and cheese with peas followed up with S'mores make it a great night.   

Our accomodations for the night.  Gus sees some poop in the distance that looks like the rollin'-in kind

Winding down with Dr. Seuss by the fire

Night be damned, that Dr. Seuss book WILL be finished!

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