Tuesday, October 28, 2008

More of 2005's Greatest Hits.

Some more of 2005:

This classic southern Appalachian rhododendron tunnel led me to...

...this place; Pickens Nose, in the Nantahala National Forest. A tremendous and stunning peak. One of the best in the southern Appalachians.

The slopes of Pickens Nose are also home to places like this--Mooney Falls. While stunning, the trail to this waterfall was one of the creepiest I've ever hiked. I got a really bad case of the chills hiking back out of there. My paranoia got the best of me--it was as if I could feel something watching me all along the way out of the shadowed forests. I was very damned happy to see the trailhead and my truck.

At the Albert Mountain fire tower along the Appalachian Trail.

Old lookout tower on Wayah Bald. (I don't know who the assholes are who got in my way as I was taking this shot.)

It's hard to tell from this shot, but I'm standing at the edge of a tremendous cliff face camouflaged by dense brush. Many hundreds of feet straight down. Near the top of Ridgepole Mountain which, while now in North Carolina, came close to being the highest mountain in Georgia (more on that some other time).

Mount Mitchell, the highest peak in the eastern USA. The old lookout tower in this photo is no more. It was demolished this year and a new one is now under construction, due to be completed in 2009.

Standing on the top of Mount Craig, the second highest summit in the eastern USA.

Vigorous new growth of balsam trees on Big Sam, another of the east's highest peaks. In the previous two decades, acid rain and an introduced pest (balsam wooly adelgid) exterminated the old balsam forests in the Black Mountains. But since the old forests have died off, new trees have thrived and the forest is returning to something like its normal appearance. No great old trees, of course, but the young ones seem to be in good health, so far.

Standing on Cattail Peak, one of only a handful of eastern mountains to approach or exceed 6,600 feet in elevation.

These cliffs appeard out of the mists adjacent to the trail I was hiking to access Mount Gibbs, another of the Black's sixers.

Soaked and exhausted after backpacking and bushwhacking to the summit of Celo Knob, the last of the Black's sixers I needed to complete.

More next post! (I told you 2005 was a busy year for me.)

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