Jan. 22 & 23, 2010
Turned back from a Linville Gorge struggle by the reports of massive amounts of downed trees from the Christmas ice storm and high river water from snow melt (that Bob wanted to wade) we had to make a decision on where to go the night before. North was under an ice storm/winter storm warning so naturally that is where Bob wanted to go.
He and Chuck had never been to the Standing Indian area and the weather looked to be better at least for part of the trip so we headed there. Not really long enough for a typical Bob 3 day death march but we would make it do.
We arrived at the parking area and were on the trail by 11:00. We decided to go counter clockwise as Bob said it would make him younger as we would be going back in time. Up Kimsey Creek trail to the AT in the rising clouds. South on the AT up the side of Standing Indian mountain we were all alone.
Half way up the side of the mountain Bob and I started seeing drifts of yellow that looked like some kind of pollen but on closer inspection it was some kind of small worm or catepillar. After the trip Bob discovered it was a snow flea!
Standing Indian is the last of the peaks over 5000 feet on the AT. Only 6 miles from the trailhead we arrived too early for Bob’s liking but we hung around as it looked like the clouds were lifting. Here Bob is speculating on which peak is which, in the clouds, on the horizon.
Stewart and I had camped on this beautiful peak 22 years ago but in October. This was January at 5500′. We went down to the spring to check on the water and Chuck and I finally made Bob decide on whether to stay or not. Answer- Yes.
The sky really began to clear and we had a great night on the peak. Bob and Chuck watching the sun set
The sunset was really great including much afterglow
Then the evening festivities began
Bob got the fire going and this is Chuck burning a weenie
The sky was really clear now and the stars were out big, Chuck and Bob taking it all in
The cloulds rolled in overnight and soaked everything with dew and then moved back out and we had a great morning at 33 degrees
The sun lasted about the first hour on the trail then the clouds began moving in and we pretty much walked in the clouds the whole day. We saw no one until after lunch and had a great stroll along the green tunnel. Here Bob is once again showing Chuck where something is out in the gray mass. This is the only view between Standing Indian and Albert Mtn. on Little Ridgepole
We did the road walk around Albert Mtn. as it was socked in but trying to clear. The plan was to stay at Big Spring shelter at the north side of the mountain and we could walk back up if it cleared.
As we neared the shelter we heard voices, damn. Just like happened to Stewart and I in 1987, it was the dreaded Boy Scout troop!!!! They were actually very nice and were mostly sleeping in tents so there was room in the shelter but we just knew they would be all over it cooking etc., especially if it rained.
So we looked at each other and decided to sprint for the car. 5.2 miles in and hour and 40 minutes had us to the car before dark. An 18 mile day. Pizza in Waynesville and home to my house by 11:30.