shining rock

Today's hike was the entire length of the Ivestor Gap Trail, from the Black Balsam Knob parking area to the Art Loeb Trail, which we took to Shining Rock. It was nearly a 10-mile hike.

We didn't make it to the peak of Shining Rock, but we sure did see the glorious white quartzite bedrock that gives the mountain its name.

If you look closely you can see a large plastic bottle
just left of center near the bottom of this picture.
Bright white rock, fragments and boulders spilling down the mountain below the large outcroppings. Simply beautiful.

On the way back we took the Art Loeb Trail up and over Flower Knob and around the peak of Grassy Cove Top.

It was a hot day, and there was little water for Rocko on the Art Loeb Trail, though there were enough springs to keep him hydrated until we got back to the nice wet Ivestor Gap Trail back at its eponymous gap.

Somewhere between Flower Knob and Grassy Cove Top, at a very narrow point in the trail, I spooked a rattlesnake. It remained under cover in the bushes but rattled loudly and for a few moments I didn't know what to do. Rocko had already passed that point; if I called him back to try a different trail, he might get bit. If I wasn't careful, I could get bit. Neither option was acceptable, so I got into the brush a little bit on the other side of the trail and kept my walking stick out in the trail to distract the angry rattler. I slithered around a tree and got moving up the trail, heart pounding.

By the time we got home it was almost 4 PM and hot as blazes. I turned the A/C in the house down to 74 (so it would come on) and took a shower. Rocko had his supper and crashed out in his bed. I'm about to do the same.

It was a good day.

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