Thanksgiving day hike

9:51 p.m. on November 12, 2010 (EST)
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I will be in Hendersonville for turkey day and was thinking about  hiking the Looking Glass Rock trail. It says it is "more difficult" on the HikeWNC web site, and I am wondering just what that means?

3:05 p.m. on November 13, 2010 (EST)
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Hey Mike,

Trails are often rated EASY, MODERATE, or DIFFICULT.

These ratings are subjective in my experience, and do not always leave the reader with an understanding of the true nature of the hike. They are however a useful guideline for making a list of hikes you wish to read up on and consider.

Many online resources and hiking guide books give a detailed description of trails so you know about trail conditions, stream crossings, steep climbs or descents, overall elevation change, and so on. These descriptions are much more helpful in planning trips than the easy, moderate, or difficult ratings.

I have hiked trails that were rated moderate, but had very difficult sections, along with some easy sections. While the rating is an average of the level of difficulty I guess, it can be misleading at times. What we tend to remember I think are the steep climbs where we almost passed out, so we may disagree with, or misunderstand the rating. This can lead to unpleasant surprises until we learn to expect, or plan for difficult sections, on trails we hike for the first time.

I would definitely try to read a good detailed description of the trail so I knew what to expect. With a little proper planning on IN & OUT day hikes you can also stop just before you get to a difficult section and do the old 180 maneuver heading back to your vehicle. This way you can enjoy part of a trail that is rated difficult, without doing the difficult part. If you plan the trip with this in mind it's not a bad way to slowly work your way up to doing more difficult trails, and eventually do the entire trail.

It's just a gradual process, start with easy short hikes and work your way up.

What exactly does "more difficult" mean?

It means the trail was difficult to hike in the judgment of the person(s) that rated it I guess.

I haven't hiked that trail, but I would certainly want to read the trail description before hiking it for the first time, and allow plenty of extra time, along with finding out what the availability of water is.

Here is a link to a trail description I found online:

I hope you have a great time.


6:27 p.m. on November 13, 2010 (EST)
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Thanks Trout, I figured as much, but I thought the term "more difficult" was strange. More difficult than what, a walk down the road or a death walk from the Trail of Tears!!! I will do a little more reading, on that web site you added....thanks, Mike

6:54 p.m. on November 13, 2010 (EST)
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Yep, from time to time I see ratings like 'Most Difficult' or 'Extra Easy'.

Not sure exactly what that means, it's open to interpretation I suppose.


11:13 p.m. on November 14, 2010 (EST)
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Haven't ever did that hike, but did a quick Google search. It climbs 1,700 feet in three miles. That's a pretty steep hike.

It's also going to be on Turkey Day. If you stuff yourself beforehand, that makes it "more difficult."

May end up being some seconds along the trail for someone to get in on. :-P

9:47 a.m. on November 15, 2010 (EST)
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That is steep, I was also looking at the Coontree loop. I may have to change because of the trouble my right knee is giving me. Thanks for the input, oh one by the way, I won't be doing on turkey day proper, it will be the day after. So my dinner  and the other hikers will be safe.

8:23 p.m. on November 28, 2010 (EST)
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So my hike turned out to be a family outing. My wife's, her daughter, my soninlaw and their two sons 8 and 15. We headed up the left side of Coontree trail which turned out to be more rugged than the right side. Now my wife's family never goes prepared at all, no lunch or anything to eat. Just a very small bag and some water, so I left my pack at the house. However I did load my pockets with some things. Weather was clear and crisp, all the leaves were down. I gave the kids some power bars half way up, then some beef jerky a little later. My son-in-law had a pretty hard time on the climb up, the second half of the loop was all down hill, and not that steep. It is a 3.6 mile loop and it took us a total of 4 hours. Not much to look at, even at the top. But I enjoy getting out no matter what.

8:40 p.m. on November 28, 2010 (EST)
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That's great Mike,

I'm glad you guys got to go. 3.6 miles in 4 hours is not bad under the circumstances you describe.

I enjoy getting out too, even when the area I'm in is kinda bland.

9:09 a.m. on November 29, 2010 (EST)
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Glad you got out and had a good time, Mike!  I agree, 4 hours with a mixed group of people, kids and all, is not a bad time at all.

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