Monday, July 12, 2010

Big Butt

Being in the mountains with a limited amount of time to devote to hiking is torture for me. I have to get out and hike. However, since Carole can't handle the trails that I like I sometimes have to leave her at the trailhead while I go wandering. Since we were so close to a trail I'd wanted to hike for a few years I decided to at least hike half of it if I could. I promised Carole that I wouldn't be gone for more than an hour and a half. I was hoping that I could hike from the terminus of the trail on the Blue Ridge Parkway and make it to the main overlook and return in that time.

The trail I wanted to tackle is called The Big Butt Trail. Named, obviously, for a major Black Mountain peak called Big Butt Mountain. It's long been the butt of many a hiking joke. I'd heard that it's a very tough trail but the section that I was able to hike wasn't bad at all.

However, the most spectacular point in the trail was just too far away. When I hit my turnaround time I actually met up with the only people I saw on that trail--a couple from Houston Texas. They told me that I was the only person they'd seen on the Big Butt Trail all that day, and I can believe them. It's a great spot for solitude. I aim to go back.

So after talking to them for a bit I turned around and hauled ass back to the trailhead where Carole was patiently waiting on me, reading a book and perusing the Yellowstone maps we'd brought along. Apparently I was just fifteen to thirty minutes shy of the overlook on Little Butt Mountain and the views that I've heard are among the finest in (and of) the Black Mountains.

I'll be back.

So we started up the truck and headed to my next speed-hiking destination.

See. I wasn't lying.

Most of the trail is through thickly forested slopes and ridges. Lots of healthy spruce trees, some of advanced age.

Need I remind you that the southern Appalachians are greener than green?

Spots of color were here and there along the trail.

Mats of low-growing ferns and such. Inviting for a lie-down.

The trail was like this for much of the way up Point Misery.

This was the highest point I reached. 5700+ feet, but no view. Just thick forest.

And occasionally I saw a lingering rhododendron blooming alone in the woods.

The spruce canopy was pretty impressive.

Signs marking the edge of the 38K acre tract of land privately owned by a single family. Strictly no trespassing. Prime territory for eminent domain, I feel.


Through the woods.

Just a nice shot of earth, rock, and Mother Nature at work. Praise Jove.

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