a nice cool mountain morning

The weather is really nice this morning at Château Cruso. It is not yet 63℉, partly to mostly cloudy, and the air feels crisp.

It reminds me of our first trip up here, nearly three years ago. The air is so different here from the air in Florida. For one thing it is a bit thinner, of course, since the Château is 3000 feet higher in elevation than our house in Elfers was. But the crispness of a cool morning just isn't as satisfying in Florida.

Speaking of elevation, Rocko and I made the full ascent of Cold Mountain on Monday. It was quite a hike: only 5.2 miles each way, but an ascent of 2800 feet over that distance. The last 1.1 miles alone climbs 1000 feet. Two days later, my calves are still a little sore.

Elevation Above Sea, Cold Feet
I found the USGS benchmark at the peak and was a bit surprised by what I found.  Instead of saying, "ELEVATION ABOVE SEA 6030 FEET", it says "COLD FEET".

We parked the car at the Boy Scout camp, Camp Daniel Boone, and started up the Art Loeb Section 4 trail. You get an idea right away that this isn't going to be your average hike; it climbs steeply right from the trailhead.

We went in at about 9:15 AM and reached the peak at 1:37 PM. The trail was nicely shaded for most of the trip. Only a small clearing exists at the summit but there is a small spot where you can look south.

The summit of Cold Mountain, NC
We spent a little while at the peak, but the sun came out and Rocko was getting hot. There is little water on this hike, and none at the summit. There is a spring not too far down, but it is rather weak since we haven't had a lot of rain lately. There are also a few small streams to ford spread out along the trail. Enough to keep Rocko hydrated, but just barely enough.

It did rain half-heartedly a couple of times early on during our ascent. I couldn't see the sky very well through the canopy of the forest, but we continued on because as far as I could tell the rain wasn't going to be serious. Besides, I have a poncho if it did start to pour. But the rain stopped both times and the rest of the day was really nice. Not oppressively hot, but I could have done with a stronger breeze.

Looking south from the summit of Cold Mountain.
You can see the twin summit of Sam Knob just right of center.
When we got back to the car a bit before 5:30 PM, I found a spot where Rocko could get down to the Little East Fork of the Pigeon, which runs through the camp and is right next to the trailhead parking area. He spent quite a while in the water, drinking deeply and standing there with water up to his belly.

We both slept well that night, not rising until 11 AM on Tuesday.

Tuesday night we had the Cruso jam session down at the community center. Steve met a young woman at a bar in Waynesville a few days ago and told her about our weekly session; she brought an upright bass this week, and next week she says she'll bring her banjo. A guy who was only in town for a few days listened to us for a little while, then asked if he could join in. Of course the answer was a resounding "yes" so he went out to his car and brought in a guitar and a soprano sax. He had a lot of easy-to-play but catchy original songs and we all played extremely well and had a great time. Bettina, the harp player, complimented me effusively as we packed up afterwards. She said that I am "obviously finding [my] place" in the group. I must say that I think she's right. All I need now is a bass to play at home. I'd do much better if I could practice during the week.

Oh well. Back to work tonight. I'm getting the laundry done and ought to do the dishes before they pile up.

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