Spring hike in the Gorge


Brandi, Julie, I and 3 white dogs

We were meeting at Conely Cove Trail in the Linville Gorge at 10. I’m not sure what went wrong but my GPS made a turn at Lake James and routed me through Marion NC and down 105 past the Linville Falls. The road is such a mess on that side. As I past Marion heading to Linville I saw this:

And I smiled. It’s been a rough couple weeks and more hiking is just what I need. Hiking in the Linville Gorge. Added bonus.

When I got to the trail Julie was there. I’d only met her briefly once. We had time to chit chat then Brandi arrived with her the white German Sheppard’s Nadia, Jules and Zoe. I thought this is gonna be an experience!

We headed down the trail and her dogs had a very specific way to hike. Nadia and Jules walked side by side, then Brandi and Zoe followed her. The best set of hiking dogs I can imagine.

It was exactly a month since I’d been hiking here and wow what a difference. Everything was so green and flowers were blooming everywhere. Julie knew the name of and if it had one, the best use for a ton of plants. She tried to share her knowledge with us but retaining it was hard!

The first one was Chickweed. It’s an edible plant that taste like parsley and was good if you are thirsty. (below)

Then Catbriar. She told us to eat the little tiny growth. it taste kind of like asparagus.

I don’t remember what this plant was called but she showed us it smelled like apples. She said beetles will land on the flower and the flower will close around it and let the beetle out the next day.

We saw some giant Trillium.

All the new green growth made for a really visual hike on a trail that doesn’t have a lot of views.

Then we came across a snake sunning itself. It must have been deaf or lazy because we got right up on it and it didn’t move until Brandi touched its tail with her hiking stick!

There were more plants Julie identified that were good for medicinal purposes. I didn’t remember all those. One wild cucumber, and bloodroot that the root really bleeds red but will burn on your skin.

Then we were at the river. So nice.

We took a short break and got some water to fill up the spray bottles because we are going to clean up some charcoal graffiti. We start heading up the Linville Gorge Trail.

There is a cave up here with a camp fire ring in it. Someone has used Ashley to draw a giant penis on the rock and a bunch of other stuff. It’s not gonna wash off with the rain so we take out our spray bottles and get to work.

That one is out before pic. This one is our after pic!

I suggested we hike down to Cathedral falls. On the way Julie pointed out some of the trail improvements that the Outward Bound people did with some of the wild south people recently. Pretty impressive!

The Falls was flowing pretty good today.

We hung out a bit and started to head back.

This is my 3rd time down this trail. I have yet to see the Conely Cave. We went back up the trail stopping here and there looking at flowers and plants. We stopped at a water source to fill up our water. Big surprise I’m out! I do have my Sawyer so I fill up. Yes I never learn. 😇

We continue up the trail. It’s full on afternoon now and it’s hot! I’m thinking 80. Julie decides to take full advantage of the next water!

Pretty soon we make the turn to the cave. It’s huge! Julie is looking for a red/white/blue salamander they saw here before but we can’t find it. It’s much cooler in the cave.

Then we head back up the trail. Julie shows us a couple more things we can eat but I can’t remember what these were.

Back at the trailhead we say our good byes! It was a great fun day. I think we hiked like 5 miles in 6 hours! Most leisure hike I’ve ever been on. We just meandered the whole time!

I went back out 105 the correct way. I always love this view of Shortoff from the road.

Bye bye Gorge until next time!

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