Thursday, May 21, 2009

Hiking Big Walker Mountain, Rocks & Green Stuff

I'd set aside the 15th for nothing but hiking and taking it easy. I'd decided on a relatively casual stroll along the Big Walker Mountain Trail. Easy because the trail terminus begins just a few hundred vertical feet below the high points along the mountaintop. So all I was looking at was a stroll through the rolling topography of the ridge line.

This part of the mountain is solidly in National Forest lands and is relatively protected. Yes, it can still be cut as timber, but you won't see any paved roads cut through these acres, and there won't be any subdivisions landing here.

Here's a map view of the trail. I started near the Big Walker Mountain Tower. The tower's a private property affair. It's an impressive site located at around 3400 feet elevation, but the owner's charge $5 to climb the 100-foot tower. If I'm going to bust my ass climbing, I don't feel like paying for the experience. Not when there are plenty of free spots to catch views of the nearby peaks.

Sign at the trailhead just behind the Walker Mountain Tower and Country Store.

Moss along the trail.

Closeup shot of the moss.

Super closeup shot of the moss.

A rock formation along the trail, not far from a place called "Monster Rock".

Me, under the rock overhang. I think it would be a safe place to hang out in a thunderstorm.

Another species of moss.

Closeup of the other moss.

Super-duper closeup.

Beseeching the mountain gods for a nice hike. I guess they had their beseeching ears on that day. It didn't rain until I'd finished my hike.

Another pretty blossom that I can't identify.

This is probably one kick-ass beautiful fully bloomed rhododendron today. Not quite ready the day I was there.

First view from near "Monster Rock". I don't know if "monster" refers to the size of the rock, or if monsters live on, around, or under it. I didn't see any monsters.

The entire ridgeline was packed with vast numbers of huge expanses of enormous rocks and boulderfields.

Considering that the only things I encountered on the entire hike were rocks, growing things, and views, this was one of the most peaceful hikes I've enjoyed in quite some time. I'll post more photos from this peak later...

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