Sunday, July 10, 2011

Charles Bunion With The Magnificent Seven

Saturday, July 9th, maybe we were too bleary-eyed at 6:30am to spot anything in each other that  might indicate a great hike was in store. After all, it was just John-the-man-loves-puddin'-Rowland, our intrepid leader (filling in for Michelle who had an injury), Bill-the-steady-eddy, Monty-always-on-the-spot, Doug-bandana-wearer-extraordinaire, Rudy-I'm-young-and-eager, Kathy-pick-me-up, and Reggie-never-stops who met to drive the 3+ hours to Newfound Gap. We arrived at the jammed full parking lot and fought our way through the crowds to jump on the trail about 10:15am. Just a few yards from the lot, we began to climb and the congested crowds and their sounds dropped away. We were left with our huffing and puffing as we ascended the rocky 1.7 miles to the first trail intersection.
We eased over a little dog-leg path to check out the view, but alas, the fog hovered.

 Here, we regrouped and then continued on toward the Icewater Spring Shelter, another 1.3 miles.

Leaving from the shelter, we followed the trail down to the actual pipe that emerges from the spring. Of course, John had to make sure the name still applied: Icewater. Yes, he announced, it did!
The path from here is rocky as it descends, then climbs a little toward the Charles Bunion. We spied turks cap lily as we continued, and then now along the spine of the ridge, we could see the fog was lifting in spits and spurts. We hoped for a bit of a view for our efforts!

Maybe, we had a little more spring in our step as we left the AT at the sign to Charles Bunion, and we had earned our hopeful views as we headed toward the rocky edifice.
We arrived to find the 'Bunion' swarmed with folks; waiting patiently for the promised views. We settled down for lunch around the bend and got a few sights of the mountains surrounding the jot of rock. Camera-ready, I felt like an old biddie ready to pounce on the youthful girl who might show a bit of ankle in her flirty dress.

Ultimately, we decided there would have to be another hike to Charles Bunion for the much hoped-for views! We said good-bye and headed out after Reggie and Kathy clambered up the rock and Doug took a picture. The trip back was a lot easier than the trip up as we only had the one little leg up to Icewater Spring that was a climb. We made it back to the cars and headed out at 4:00pm. John arranged for us to stop at Subway which we all enjoyed; however, the Chronicler has to once again insist that she only had 1 whole scoop of ice cream: it just looked like 2 :-).

 Here are a few items that struck my fancy on the way back down to the trailhead:

Lichen? on a big rock
Soft Moss on Hard Rock

The Woods
Bill on the path
Sweet nothings hiding in the clover

Still striving for that blue sky

Finally...the view!