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
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
I am glad to say that this summer’s sufferfest is over and I survived. My old friend, Bill Irving had this great idea to ride all of Skyline Drive and the Blue Ridge Parkway. Our original plan was to do it with a group of people and a sag wagon but when that didn’t work out we set out on our own. Without the sag wagon we decided we wouldn’t have time for all the parkway but we could at least make it to Asheville to pick up a rental and head back north. At the last minute while packing we decided to throw in some climbing gear just in case we got the urge to do some climbing. Well the climbing ended up becoming a great distraction.
Our total trip was around 14 days and we did a little over 500 miles or 800 kms, we climbed on the loaded down bikes over 59 thousand feet or 18 thousand meters and managed to do 8 different rock climbing routes.