Mar 13, 2014 at 11:54 am #1314377
Andy RieseBPL Member
Planning a 3 day 2 night loop from Big East Fork Trailhead next weekend(3/21). This will be a my first trip after swapping some of my gear for more lightweight equipment. The plan is to head up the Big East Fork Trail to Graveyard Fields via the MST. From Graveyard Fields we will take Graveyard Ridgeline trail up towards Black Balsam Knob and hit the Art Loeb Trail or Investor Gap Trail up over Investor Gap over to Flower Knob. We plan on heading down Shining Creek Trail Back to Big East Fork Trailhead.
Depending on when we get to the trail Friday and how many miles we get in, we plan on staying first night in Graveyard fields area or maybe Sam Knob/Flat Luarel Creek area. The second night I think we will be around Investor or Flower Knob.
I have day hiked Graveyard fields and Black Balsam Knob so I am a little familiar with the area. I know it is not marked well in some areas and have gotten cheap sheets from other hikers. I also know that water can be hard to find up on the balds and have mapped the few water sources that are up there.
The parkway was still closed up there this past weekend and I am hoping it stays closed next weekend to keep the day hikers out of the area.
Thank you for all your help already! Anymore help would be great!!!!Mar 13, 2014 at 6:35 pm #2082596
Jamie ShorttBPL Member
@jshorttLocale: North Carolina
Andy, This is a great trip, one of my favorites. A couple of thoughts… one is consider adding miles and getting to the summit of Cold Mountain. The way I do this is reverse your trip. Start at Big East Fork parking and follow Shining Creek Trail to shining rock then head north up art loeb and take the summit trail to cold mountain (day 1 = ~12 miles). You can camp up top just below the peak. You can watch the sun set and rise on top "The Cold Mountain" it is pretty cool. There is even a fairly reliable spring on the way up. Here is a pic of sunset on Cold Mountain.
After camping the night up top you can hike back recovering the portion of the Art Loeb to Shining Rock then continue past all the killer balds. It really a great section. But my experience is don't expect much water. Hit Graveyard late in the day and hike to Big East Fork trail (this day will be like 18 miles). If you do this push past Graveyard and camp on Big East. There are a number of places, one is right at the bridge and waterfall. Water is obviously abundant. This leaves you something like 4-5 miles back to parking lot.
I will say I seem to get myself lost every time I do this trip, but always find my way back. The first time I climbed up shining rock and think I spent an hour trying to figure out where the Art Loeb trail was to keep going north. But this is probably just me.
Even if you don't do cold mountain, this is a great trip and this should be a great time of year to do it.
JamieMar 13, 2014 at 8:52 pm #2082643
Andy RieseBPL Member
Thanks again Jamie. My friend that is going with me has done an overnighter up Cold Mountain from Big East Fork. This is why we are going the opposite direction towards Graveyard Fields the first day. He has never seen the balds over near Black Balsam. We are really looking forward to the trip!
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