The trail has become quite popular, but I'm hoping that I won't bump into numbers of people since I will be in the Forest in March, and during the week which will hopefully keep the crowds away. This will be my first major hike into the Shining Rock Wilderness. I tend to avoid Shining Rock because of the crowds, although I have been in there a few times. I once planned an overnight backpacking trip there but when I arrived at the trailhead there was--and I am not exaggerating--a line of hikers numbering at least one hundred heading up the slopes. I took one look at that ridiculous sight and headed over to Middle Prong Wilderness where almost no one goes; and I was rewarded with sweet solitude--not one other human.
So now is time to plot out a route and look at water sources and mapped campsites.
|On Cedar Rock, along the Art Loeb Trail.|
|Panorama taken from the summit of Little Sam Knob looking toward Sam Knob (on the far left) and the heights of Shining Rock Wilderness beyond.|
|Very high country in Middle Prong Wilderness.|
|Mount Hardy, over 6100 feet above sea level.|
|The southern summit of the double-summit of Sam Knob. Taken from the northern end of the peak.|
Video taken just off the Art Loeb Trail on the John Rock cliffs.