On April 17, 2004, Bob Boettger, Paul Anderson and Bob Laney left town a little after dawn and headed to Grandfather Mountain for a substantial day hike. We ascended the Profile Trail from the parking area on NC-105, which is well graded with beautiful stone work. In my opinion, it is the best graded and most beautiful stone work on any trail I have seen in the U.S.
The middle week in February, 2004, my boon traveling companion Carroll Lowe and I spent a week in Jackson Hole, WY. Our esteemed travel agent Annie Garwood fixed us up at the downtown Best Western Lodge. It would be over-simplified to say we were skiing. It was a varied, scouting, testing, experimental snow trip.
The weekend of February 6, 2005, my buddies Bill Booth, Mike Haire and Tom Haire from Rutherford County have invited me to go rabbit hunting. If you have not been, it may not sound like a lot of fun. But I have been with this bunch before, and it is cool. They hunt with some high quality rabbit beagles raised by their friends James, Colon and Larry Saunders of Morganton.
On January 31, 2004, I went grouse hunting with my buddy Bill Booth from Rutherfordton County. He also invited his friend, Bud Grissom, who played varsity football at UNC-CH and was an All American. Bud is now a high school principal. We also went with his brother from Surry County, Rick Grissom, who coaches Elkin High School football and won the 1A state championship for 2002 and 2003. His license plate reads '1ABk2Bk.' We went to Ashe County on land owned by a client of mine, on the north side of the South Fork of the New River about a mile down stream from Todd.
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.