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Day 2 of our 3 day backpacking trip, and our only full day of hiking. First, we leave our backpacks and gear at our camp in Mehrten Meadow and head out to summit Alta Peak @ 11,200 ft. The trail had some areas of snow cover which required some scrambling but nothing that required crampons.The last 500 feet or so before the summit was covered in snow.

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We start from the Wolverton parking lot mid-morning on a 4.2 mi hike that brings us to the amazing vista at Panther Gap and finish at Mehrten Meadow where we camp for the night.

View from the overlook St. John's Wort? Mountain Laurel Craggy Pinnacle Trail Map

I went to the Craggy Gardens area of the Blue Ridge Parkway, about 20 mile north of Asheville, NC. I missed the rhododendron bloom by a few weeks, but there were still ample examples of local color and gnarled trees, two of my favorite things.Trip writeup at Two-Heel Drive

Best time to come is in early to mid-June, when the Rhododendron bloom is out in full force.

Shanty Spring More large stone overhangs Stone wall on Profile Trail White rhododenron on Profie Trail Map

Rugged hike from Profile Trail parking area to Calloway Peak at Grandfather Mountain State Park.This is from one of the two "free" trailheads (it costs $15 per person to drive to the top and hike the summit trails) -- note that if you think you're going to save $15 and hike all the summit trails too, you'd better be in extremely good physical condition (like a triathlete or something) ...

coucoupouet coucoupouet Dan River to Hanging Rock, 10-mile strenuous hike 2010-06-12 16.9 km10.5 mi 6h:06m 14 photos

Wet crossings Only wildflowers I saw Indian Creek Trail. Dan River Map

Long hot hike up the Indian Creek Trail from Dan River in Hanging Rock State Park. It's just under 4 miles up to the Hanging Rock Visitor Center parking lot, then a short, steep climb to Hanging Rock along the Hanging Rock Trail.The first two miles of Indian Creek Trail from the Dan River to the road leading into the park climb gently through thick forest -- nice hiking if you get an early start.

People on cliffs on far side of Swinging Bridge Bolt on the Mile High Swinging Bridge Mile High Swinging Bridge from the Far Side Rock overhang on Bridge Trail Map

Short moderate hike to Swinging Bridge followed by crazy-rugged 2.5-mile out-and-back to MacRea peak. Despite short distance, it's a very strenuous outing with multple ladder and cable ascents. Trip write-up at Two-Heel Drive

Be ready for anything at Grandfather Mountain (even bears). Weather can go bad on you very quickly, especially on summer afternoons.

coucoupouet coucoupouet Road Trip: Southern end of Blue Ridge Parkway 2010-05-23 334 km207.5 mi 7h:34m 9 photos

Budding rhododendron Waterfall near Graveyard Fields Perfect day Looking Glass Falls Map

We took a drive south of Asheville to check out the southernmost end of the Blue Ridge Parkway.Weather was gorgeous. We made a quick run up to Newfound Gap in Great Smoky Mountains National Park, took some pictures and headed for home. Trip writeup at Two-Heel Drive.

Track for this trip is way, way off in some areas as mountains and trees blocked the signal.

coucoupouet coucoupouet Tanglewood Park, easy 5-mile walk 2010-05-22 8.6 km5.4 mi 2h:16m 22 photos

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I ponied up my $4 for EveryTrail Pro -- works mostly as billed, though I did have one tracking freeze where it wouldn't resume tracking till after I rebooted my iPhone. My biggest gripe is with the iPhone camera, which seems to enjoy underexposing everything. By the way if you're a Tanglewood fan: trails are very muddy today.

Adriano Adriano Chapada Diamantina 2010-05-16 77.6 km48.2 mi 1 day 16h:01m 43 photos

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We walked 6 days with a bit of driving in between.It begins with a day of hike up to the "Cachoeira da Fumaça", 12Km round trip, really nice.Then the next day we started a longer walk which took us 5 days. It began on Vale do Capão on the west side of the park and ended in a town called Andarai, on the east side.

coucoupouet coucoupouet South Mountains State Park, 9-mile strenuous hike 2010-05-15 15.1 km9.4 mi 5h:32m 10 photos

Hint of things to come Vibrant green Morning sun Trailhead Map

My first hike at South Montains State Park, southwest of Hickory, NC. This is a big, remote park with all mountainous terrain. The hills are not terrible high (none over 3000 feet, as far as I could tell) but the trails have two orientations: up and down. Camping opportunities are abundant -- and 40 miles of trails deep into the backcountry of the park offer many backpacking options.