Grassy Ridge with the Wife (My 41st Birthday Present)

8:37 p.m. on June 19, 2013 (EDT)
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I’m on a hot streak right now as my wife has gifted me with a second backpacking trip within a month! As an early present for my 41st she joined me on a two night, two day trip to the Roan Highlands in TN. (Even after having the last trip ended prematurely by a black bear.)




It was a three hour drive after work and we started in the fresh darkness about 9PM from Carvers Gap. I didn’t bother with any more pictures on the hike in as the point and shoot flash doesn’t really produce great results. By headlamp we went up and down Round Bald and Jane Bald, and then up Grassy Ridge. Despite the days heat there was frost on everything that night. The primo saddle camp was taken so went up to the first Rhodo camp on the north peak.



The next morning I snapped a couple pics of the small tent spot on the ridge at about 6K in elevation. I had forgotten how intense the dew and condensation is up there. Everything was soaking wet.



A few steps from camp was this morning view.


Breakfast spread on the mountain.





The second order of business was to push through the wet foliage and show Susan the views from the ridge.



But we mustn’t overlook the cool succulent pushing through the rock.



The Catawba was not in full bloom but getting very close.


We decide to day hike back down the ridge and explore off trail in the expanse of tall grass.


With no GPS Susan found a geo cache!


It was lovely day all around.



We moved our camp down to the open saddle.


We installed a piece of PVC pipe at the spring down the hill.



You can still find a private spot on a popular mountain if you’re willing to suffer a few scratches and scrapes to push through the woods.







We had to seek shade on and off. This was one of the most extreme temperature swing trips I’ve ever done. It went from cold to hot, back and forth all weekend.


We met some nice folks that were actually from our neck of the woods: Karen and Diane.


I need an ID on this tiny flowering shrub if anyone can help.


It was another lovely evening with a small campfire. I actually carried up four Duraflame roasting logs rather than try to find wood so high up on the mountain. They were basically formed charcoal.


The next foggy morning I got up to answer the call and discovered two deer moving across the saddle. (My camera battery died so this and the rest of the pictures are from my cell phone.)


One of them had no fear of me at all.


The skies threatened us all morning but never poured.


While backtracking out we got to see all the blooms we missed by night hiking in two days before.


This was another great trip to the Roan and highly recommended as a couples journey.

Hope you enjoyed the report!

Happy Trails ya’ll!

10:22 p.m. on June 19, 2013 (EDT)
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Very nice tr. Looks like you 2 had a good time. Your phone takes pretty good pics. I always carry 2(larger capacity) spare batteries with me on the trail and have finagled a way to charge them from my Goal Zero panel if need be with a few adapters. 

Good stuff man.

Beautiful vista shots. 

Thanks for sharing. 

11:23 p.m. on June 19, 2013 (EDT)
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You're on a roll!

Lots of green there.

11:45 p.m. on June 19, 2013 (EDT)
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What a special trip! That truly has to be one of the most beautiful places on the the planet. A simply perfect place to take one's lady :) 

My oldest brother, who you met up there last year, had intended to take his wife on this exact trip just two weeks ago, but the non-stop rain that week cancelled it for them. Considering how the weather in east TN has been behaving, You hit a lucky stretch with no rain, that's for sure :P

12:06 a.m. on June 20, 2013 (EDT)
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Patman said:


I need an ID on this tiny flowering shrub if anyone can help.

It appears to be Blueberries. At the least it is another berry that is very closely related. 

12:10 a.m. on June 20, 2013 (EDT)
denis daly
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Glad you both had a great time.Great trip report..Thanks for sharing

7:05 a.m. on June 20, 2013 (EDT)
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Hey thanks all....


Rick, I did carry a spare camera battery but had forgotten to charge it. :(




I guess that is blueberries but what threw me is that none of the shrubs were more than 1 foot tall. They were all over the place and did have a burgandy sheen to the leaves when you backed up to view them.


yeah we did get lucky with the weather for sure. I'm always anxious about keeping Susan warm and dry;

8:11 a.m. on June 20, 2013 (EDT)
Tipi Walter
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Thanks for the pics and the report.  The Roans are one of a handful of special spots in the Southeast and so much different than the lowland scrub hot Virginia piney furnaces we have to contend with most of the time.  I've only been there once in '89 and need to go back.

It's nice to have a larger tent to enjoy.  Now maybe you'll carry it for your solo trips too.

10:05 a.m. on June 20, 2013 (EDT)
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nice pics and trip report. Glad you got to enjoy the company of your wife on another trip. It is a beautiful place. 

Happy Birthday!!! 

10:07 a.m. on June 20, 2013 (EDT)
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Patman said:

Hey thanks all....


Rick, I did carry a spare camera battery but had forgotten to charge it. :(

That sucks, I have been a victim of that one before. 

Your tent...

Is that a Hubba hubba?

(Hubba hubba hubba hubba... ;)

10:23 a.m. on June 20, 2013 (EDT)
Sean Van Cleve
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Thank you for sharing!

10:46 a.m. on June 20, 2013 (EDT)
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Funny Rick! That's a Hoop. It's a larger version of the Hubba Hubba and is listed as 3.5 season.About 5.4 pounds.

1:13 p.m. on June 20, 2013 (EDT)
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Ah, ok, 
There are about 15-20 different species of true Blueberries, ranging in growing height from 4" to over 13 ft. The lowbush type are quite common, and usually grow in fairly dense patches. I most often see them both in the open or in shade at higher elevation, but almost always as an understory plant at lower elevations. I would love to be able to accurately identify all the species and subspecies in the blueberry family, but I'm not nearly versed enough to do so. 

3:16 p.m. on June 22, 2013 (EDT)
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cool trip report! nice cellphone pix. I liked the deer. you always see cool stuff on your trips.

4:04 p.m. on June 26, 2013 (EDT)
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Nice, Patrick! I love the all of the pictures, but the last 5 are my favorites. I am glad you were able to see the rhododendrons. They weren't out yet when we were there on the 1st. It still was so pretty! Glad you and Susan had a great time with no bear encounters. Ps, I had my very first (and second) this past week in Yosemite! Exciting!

3:50 p.m. on June 28, 2013 (EDT)
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Patman, great trip report and photos! Glad to see the whole bear incident didn't cause any problems with taking future trips.

5:35 p.m. on June 30, 2013 (EDT)
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Good for you guys!

I'm glad to see you and Susan got to enjoy the lovely highlands, thanks for the great TR Pat.

1:43 a.m. on July 1, 2013 (EDT)
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What a nice trip. You could just see your enjoyment! Thanks!

12:07 p.m. on July 1, 2013 (EDT)
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Ashleigh said:

Ps, I had my very first (and second) this past week in Yosemite! Exciting!

You will post pictures right?


12:39 p.m. on July 1, 2013 (EDT)
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Yes sir, of the trip AND the bear. :) I hope to have the report up this week.

4:30 p.m. on July 18, 2013 (EDT)
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This so far looks to be on the top of my list for mine and my wife's first overnight trip together. If anyone doesn't mind, where could i find a map of the area trails. what trail would you suggest in the area. I love to plan almost as much as i love to hike.

My other choice for our first overnight together is the south cumberland area (probably alum gap) as i have been there and it is a little closer to us.

4:56 p.m. on July 18, 2013 (EDT)
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Hey JP....

First, I highly recommend going to the Roan in summer when everything is blooming. Strangely, I’ve never purchased a map of the area.

Personally I love a somewhat hard to find and unmarked trail that I call the “Yellow Mountain Trail”; I wanted to show Susan but we only had two nights to use and no shuttle, so she wasn’t up to the total miles required to go see my favorite spot. However, most of the best stuff can be seen from the AT and the Grassy Ridge trail.

I do have AT datapoints and a few other bits of personal notes if wanted. Send me a private message when you're ready and I'd be glad to send you whatever I have.

July 11, 2020
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