Thursday, September 26, 2013

On to Hawksbill!

After we tramped around the Chimneys for a good part of the day, we headed down Forest Service Road 230 to the trailhead to Hawksbill Mountain.

Hawksbill is one of the iconic peaks of Linville Gorge. I often stop at various peaks and overlooks and peer across the gulf at it. And though I've been to the Gorge uncounted times, somehow I've never climbed to the top! I can't explain it. It's one of the higher of the rocky, exposed summits and it just begs to be climbed. Add to this the fact that the trail to the summit is less than one mile in length...and there's really no excuse I could make as to why I'd skipped it in the past. Especially when I've driven past the trailhead many, many times.

So, Sunday was the day to make up for lost opportunities. We drove over to the trail, parked, and began our hike.

I love the National Forest wilderness area signs. Always good for a photo!

The sign for the Hawksbill Trail. Most wilderness areas don't have any kind of manmade structure in them. Sometimes, they make slight exceptions. For Linville, the Forest Service decided to put a substantial footbridge across the Linville River on the Spence Ridge Trail to keep people from trying to wade across the river in high water and getting themselves killed. But recent heavy rain had washed the bridge out.

The trail has very recently been rerouted and rebuilt. The old trail was too eroded and too steep, and so this new one was engineered. They're still not quite finished with the details.

One of the first overlooks affords this view of Grandfather Mountain.

More new trail construction.

Part of the old trail that they kept. Pretty rugged. Pretty steep.

We stopped at this rock to rest before breaking out onto the summit.

Yow! What took me so long to see this place??!!

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