No riding today. We ended up climbing at a secret place near Table Rock. Probably the best choice considering how my tendon was feeling. Lots of fun until we got boomed off by some really close lightening. It would not have been a real trip to the mountains of NC without a little lightening. We ended up coming back in the afternoon to finish the route we had started which was super fun.
The day ended with a big dinner at a Mexican restaurant and a few beers. Ahh, the good life.
Today was a day off the bikes but not a rest day. We headed up to Table Rock to do a classic route, the North Ridge. Our team consided of Bill and I, Jeep and his friend Jay. The climb was not too hard but had great views and a nice hike scramble to get to the base.
It was so nice to visit Table Rock again after so many years. When we made it to the parking lot we ran into an Outward Bound Crew which brought back a ton of fond memories but also made me feel old. We also ran into a young climber from OB after finishing the route. The day could not have been nicer.
The day started out early with eggs and bagels in camp. We headed out on our bikes to find the Stone Mountain climbing area and few directions from the rangers we were ready to start climbing the classic Great Arch route. Since we were traveling by bike all this time we only brought a short 50 foot rope. I think the Great Arch is normally done in 3 or 4 pitches but we ended up having to do 9 pitches, with a little creativity on Bill’s part. I must say the climb was easy and fun and a great way to start the day.
We got down and back to our camp in time to have some lunch and take a siesta before heading out on our bikes. Our goal of Doughton Park Campground was not too far away but we had to do some serious climbing just to get back on the Blue Ridge Parkway.
Along the way we met Zak and Betty from Conway, Arkansas who were doing the parkway on their Harley. While talking to them we noticed a butterfly caught under the light of the motorcycle. We set it free and it flew around and landed on Betty’s hand. Since we were headed south, and at that time of the year the butterflies are also, we put it in Bill’s basket thinking it might want a ride for a few miles. As it turns out, it stayed with us all the way to our campground, spent the night in the basket and left the next morning right after breakfast.
Our route for the day: http://www.mapmyride.com/workout/1161779611
The plan was to take day 7 off and hang out with my sister and her family. Bill really wanted to make it to Stone Mountain so we could climb the next day and I wanted a day off. Our solution was that Bill would ride and my sister and family would drive me the distance. This worked out perfect since I was starting to have some achilles tendon pain. I arrived at the Stone Mountain campsite in the late morning and set up our tent. Bill rolled in around 5pm. After a little break we did some scouting for the climbing area, had a good dinner and headed to bed.
Day 7 was the beginning of the change of the adventure. We not only had a short day but we changed our focus. Riding was starting to take a backseat to climbing. We came a good 5 to 10 miles off the Parkway so we could do some climbing. We also were no longer as worried about the destination but more interested in the process.
After a great nights sleep at Tuggle Gap we got on the road early at around 7:15. Our early start was due to the fact that we had to meet my sister and her family near Orchard Gap. They had rented a cabin near by and were driving up to spend the afternoon, night and next morning with us. The early start worked out perfect because we got a big breakfast at Mabry Mill along the way.
The cabin was great and since we had arrived early went for an afternoon hike. We carried the climbing gear because we heard that at a place called Devil’s Den there might be some climbing. Well, it turned out there was some rock but I am not sure if it had ever been climbed. We set up a top rope and my nephew Ben had the pleasure of doing the first accent. His brother Noah could not be out done so he jumped on it also.
After a little shopping we returned to the cabin for some fishing, a big meal and hanging out. What a great day!
Map of the ride: http://www.mapmyride.com/workout/1161753025
Day 3’s route was from Waynesboro to the James River campground, which made it the longest day distance wise, but it turned out to not be the hardest day. Find a link to a map of the route here: http://www.mapmyride.com/workout/1161661027
We stopped early on at an overlook and met 2 guys, Doug and Craig who were getting ready to do some rock climbing. We asked them where and they simply said right it had Raven’s Roost overlook. They showed us to the start of the climbs, let Bill jump on a climb they already had set up and gave us directions for a nice little climb that we did in 3 pitches with our short 55 foot rope.
Because we spent 2 hours climbing we made it to the campground around dark. It was an ok place, with a fire ring with wood in our campsite. We cooked up some country ham we had been carrying for a few days over the fire and fell asleep after a full day.