Andy Kunkle had promised to guide me to a place in Linville Gorge that rivaled some of the West's scenery. It's a placed called The Amphitheater. Known mainly to rock climbers, it's just not common knowledge among the hiking and backpacking community. It consists of a number of huge sheer walls that plunge down pretty much to the Linville River from the heights just below the ridge line not far south of Table Rock and The Chimneys.
This photo journal today illustrates the first part of our hike.
We had parked on Ginger Cake Road at a spot that's pretty popular for casual hikers. For the reason that it's the shortest and easiest route to hike down to the Linville River. We had a hard time finding a parking spot, and I ended up parking on the shoulder of the road. This was taken not far into the woods from the road.
Boone, as usual, was raring to go. He kept running ahead of us and then doubling back to see what was keeping his human companions. Forget about seeing wildlife when you have a dog along.
Another great view into the gorge. Hawksbill Mountain was to the north of us and Table Rock was to the south, in the direction we were headed.
As we get alongside Table Rock, we are afforded good views of The Chimneys.
Looking back at Table Rock after we'd paused at the parking area just below it.
This was on the first of the three Chimneys. Go ahead. Try to walk across that pine tree. I dare ya. I double-dog dare ya.
Not sure what's being protected. Could be vegetation. Might be peregrine nesting area. This was on the second of The Chimney formations.
I had clambered up one of The Chimneys, looking for a scrambling route to the top. But it was just a tad too technical for me. But I got a good photo from about 3/4 of the way to the summit looking down at Andy and Boone.
The improved cairn that rock climbers have left on the Mountains to Sea Trail to alert their fellows of the way down to The Amphitheater.
Tomorrow: the real deal.