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Planned Hike – Linville Gorge, NC In October

 

table rock panoramic photo - linville gorge north carolina

Linville Gorge in North Carolina has been on my list for over a year now. This place is called “The Grand Canyon of the East”, and supposedly has some of the most rugged terrain East of the Mississippi.

According to wikipedia, Linville Gorge is one of only two wilderness gorges in the Southern United States (with Bald River Gorge Wilderness in Tennessee). Maintained by the United States Forest Service, it comprises 11,786 acres around the Linville River, and is situated inside the Pisgah National Forest. The river is approximately 1,400 feet below the ridge, thus hiking in and out of the Gorge is challenging and enjoyable for those who like serious hiking. The plant and animal community is extremely diverse, with a dense hardwood/pine forest and a wide variety of smaller trees and other plants as well as bear, fox, raccoon, trout, grouse, turkey, vultures, owls, hawks, copperheads, and timber rattlesnakes.

I am looking at hiking the “Is that all ya got” loop during the second week of October. This route follows the East side of the gorge, crosses the Linville River, and follows the West side of the Linville River back. The hike should be around 22-26 miles, and from what I hear is somewhat strenuous due to the ups and downs. Not a big deal for me, but I’m bring along another first timer, my cousin. It’s about a 12 hour drive to get there, so the plan is to get a very early start the first day, drive there and hike in a few miles to camp on night one, have 3 full days of hiking, and then a short hike back to the car on day 5.

On my list of things I need to do before this trip include replacing the bite valve on my Osprey Hydration Bladder, picking a trailhead, plan campsite locations,  and choosing a route. I’m still not sure if I want to follow the entire ITAYG loop as intended or possibly include the West side of the gorge, I need to look into that further. I also need to order my topo map of the Linville Gorge.

Here in Michigan, the fall colors will have already begun to change, but I’m not sure of when exactly they start changing in North Carolina. The unusually warm weather of 2012 may also have an effect on when the leaves change colors, whether it be earlier or later, I’m not sure. My guess is earlier… in Michigan, we saw temps in the 80s for a week in March, which caused the trees to start budding 2 months early. Don’t know what happened in NC, but I guess we’ll see.

This will likely be my last “warm weather” hike of the year. Temps should be in the mid 60s during the day and low 40s at night, perfect for backpacking. Fishing wise, I’ve heard mixed reports. Mostly though, I’ve read the fishing is not good in the Linville River, so I won’t count on that. I’m getting tired of buying expensive non-resident 5 day fishing licenses that I never even use, so I know I won’t be buying one this time around.

As always, I’ll get a trip report up here as soon as I can!

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