I'm going on my first backpacking trip for quite some time this weekend. Andy Kunkle, Bob Johnson and I will be headed to the Pisgah National Forest to do an overnight loop hike in the Curtis Creek area.
Andy and I hiked there last summer to find a grove of old growth hardwood trees, which we succeeded in doing. I'm hoping to stumble across some more great old trees when we're there on this trip, although we'll be in a different drainage area and hiking slopes a few miles away from where the big trees were.
I've also been to this area on a couple of other hikes with Andy and once before with Bob Johnson. One was around this same time a few years ago when we hiked up to Green Knob and into some really cold weather. On another trip we went to find some waterfalls and to seek out wildflowers--and discovered that forest that year was packed with an enormous crop of deer ticks. I'm hoping we don't find ticks this time, but since we really didn't have a winter this year, I will not be surprised if we have a problem with ticks.
I'm pretty sure that this is Mackey Mountain. This was as close as we got to Mackey on that hike, but on this trip we'll actually be going over the summit.
Boone the dog, and me. This was at a nice waterfall we visited. Boone will be along on this trip, too.
I had almost forgotten than my son, Andy, was on this hike until I started pulling up the photographs from this trip (April 2009).
This photo is sad for a number of reasons. First of all, this is a really nice waterfall and it's almost completely hidden by fallen hemlock trees. Secondly, the hemlocks died and fell over because they were infested with hemlock wooly adelgid, the pest that is killing off all of our hemlock forests. This particular scene is exceptionally painful because this had been a grove of very old hemlocks. Now they're all dead and gone. I doubt there's a living hemlock left in that section of Pisgah National Forest.