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Thursday, August 23, 2012

Monster Geocaching Trip: Day 3, Lows and Highs

...the lows of a river gorge, as well as the highest point east of the Mississippi...

The day began where Day 2 left off, in Morganton, NC.  We left pre-dawn and with limited visibility in the morning fog heading north to the east side of Linville Gorge, I ran over an already dead but still very stinky skunk.  This smell would haunt us for the better part of the next two days...

The sights were so much better than the smells, plus, I'm able to share those here.  So I'll let the pictures do the talking for Day 3, since there are so many I'd like to share.

At the start of our hike down Spence Ridge Trail in the Linville Gorge Wilderness

Waterfalls beside Spence Ridge Trail, about half way down the gorge

House Rock

Some pretty fungi beside the trail

Linville Gorge Falls, upper and lower

View of Hawkbill and Table Rock mountains, as seen from halfway down Babel Tower Trail on the east side of the Gorge

Wiseman's view, looking south (due to the beautiful contrasting landscapes here, coupled with the issues with weather we had at high points later in the trip, this was my favorite view of all 5 days)

After leaving Linville Gorge, we headed SW, on the Blue Ridge Parkway for about 20 miles to the highest point east of the Mississippi, Mt Mitchell:

At this elevation, we were in the clouds which took away most of the views, and also took about 20 degrees off the temperature: I had to put my fleece on for the short walk up to the summit.

Dad, busy being the highest point east of the Mississippi!
We then hightailed it south to Chimney Rock Park, barely making it to the ticket office before the 5:30pm cutoff.  The admission price was a steep 15 bucks, but the views were fantastic:

Pano taken from atop Chimney Rock

Plaque set in rock, and view of Lake Lure to the east

The final stop before getting to Cherokee and the doorstep of Great Smoky Mountains National Park, was the "final cache" for the North Carolina Delorme Challenge.  It wasn't nearly the final adventure of the PA Delorme Challenge, lucky for us too, cause it was getting quite late in the day.

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