Over the November 1 weekend around 2003 Will McElwee and I backpacked the A. T. from the Yellow Mountain Gap, which is the same as the Overmountain Victory trail gap, to Big Hump Mountain This is the section that I call big grassy balds It was quite pleasant in terms of both weather and logistics Out trail mileage was only about 8 miles, but the big altitude gain made it a sufficient workout
A couple days before the summer solstice, the longest day of the year, on June 20, 2015, I attempted to repeat my rarely accomplished grand traverse of Grandfather Mountain. I have hiked on Grandfather Mountain close to 100 times, but I have never met or heard of anyone who has done this particular hike. I start on NC Highway 105 at the base of the mountain; ascend east on the Profile Trail; pass the Watauga River and Shanty Springs; reach Calloway Gap; turn right and go south on Grandfather Trail; climb and descend Attic Window Peak and MacRae Peak; and go steeply down the trail to the Swinging Bridge. At the Top Shop I tank up with water. Then I go back the way I came, all the way to NC Highway 105.
At Jim and JoAnn Caudill's kind invitation, I accepted an offer to go paddling on the Tuckaseegee River the week of July 6 - 9, 2015. It turns out that all of the many other persons who traditionally go with the Caudill's on this annual trip had conflicts. We ended up with just three participants - fortuitously the minimum number needed to run the vehicle shuttle.
David Smith organized a scuba diving trip to Bluestone Quarry near Thomasville, NC, on Sunday, August 9, 2015. The other two divers were his daughter Bethany Swaim and me, Bob Laney. Dave is an avid diver who goes to the Caribbean, often Bonaire Island, on a regular basis. I have been with him on maybe a half dozen of those trips. This outing was to keep our fins wet between trips - for practice and for fun.
Mike Cooper requested me (Bob Laney) to plan a backpacking trip over the long weekend of August 28 - 30, 2015. I selected Grandfather Mountain, since it is the most rugged set of trails that I know within convenient driving distance from Wilkes County, and none of the other campers had been there. Accompanying us were Chip Wilkes, Drew Willardson and Justin Mikell.
On Saturday, September 19, 2015, my nephew Robert Parker organized a rock climbing trip to Holloway Mountain. This cliff is located off the north side of Holloway Mountain Road, in Watauga County, between the Blue Ridge Parkway and NC 105 in Foscoe. It was a family affair. Fellow climbers were Robert's dad Larry, his wife (and my sister) Ann, Robert's wife Meredith, and their three children Kara (5 years old), Kate (3 years) and Karly (1 year). Yes, everybody but Karly rock climbed and / or rappelled!
Over the weekend of October 23 - 25, 2015, Chip Wiles and Robbie Russell planned a backpacking, camping and trout fishing trip to Harpers Creek Wilderness, Wilson Creek Valley, Pisgah National Forest, between Grandfather Mountain and Collettsville. They graciously invited me (Bob Laney) to accompany them.
My friend, web site designer and manager Matt Van Buskirk told me that I need to learn how to upload videos to my Blue Ridge Outings web site. So far I have mostly posted still photos; while rarely copying a video from other friends, including Paul Anders and David Smith, which I would send to Matt to upload for me. This past week Matt laid down the law. He said that he is adding a video upload function which I am deputized to utilize. 'Go make some videos' he instructed me. So I did.
I first met Stan Treski on an Ed Martin lead backpacking trip on the Appalachian Trail in Great Smokey Mountain National Park about 20 years ago. I remembered him as a well-conditioned guy and a strong hiker. I don't recall seeing him since. Serendipitously, I ran into to him a couple weeks ago eating lunch at Talia's with his brother -in-law Keith Johnston. We renewed our acquaintance and I invited him to go with me and several other guys on a backpacking trip in Grand Teton National Park this coming August. He had a conflict with the August trip, but we agreed to join on some hikes before then to help me get in shape for that committing trip.
Eustace Conway's Turtle Island Preserve (TIP) is a great place to spend a day or three. I like to go there to get back to my roots of working on a farm, which I did nearly every day of my youth. Plus, I needed to buy some firewood and replace my chopping block which had recently disintegrated from over-use. So, on Saturday, February 6, 2016, I arranged to go there for the day, get a load of wood and help with the farm chores.