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It's been a crazy end and beginning of the year for life (moving cities), work deadlines, etc so I haven't managed any full trip reports but did keep squeezing in trips here and there. A quick summary in photos mostly:
December was crazy busy so I mostly put in long day hikes about 30 minutes from the house - Pilot Mountain State Park (NC) - this monadnock (for all you geologists or at least something to google!) rises a couple of thousand feet out of the piedmont hills and is a distinctive feature of our foothills even from a distance:
There is some decent climbing elsewhere (based on the number of folks hanging off these rocks in better weather).
But few folks were out this weekend (10-20 degrees and windy!).
January and February I managed a couple of trips to my new "back yard" of Grayson Highlands/Mount Rogers VA to do some weekend trips in foul weather - testing gear and training/narrowing my kit down for the upcoming trip across Scotland.
First trip I rushed up there with a forecast of 3-6 inches of snowfall. There was already a decent amount on the ground.
Views were hit and miss as the fog rolled in.
Had a great trip - started out around 10 degrees but actually got warmer. The snow forecast was off (as usual) so ended up with a foot or so. Some before and after shots of the highland ponies...
And my snow storm camp site - found a wind blown clear area to set up and test the Tarptent Stratospire 1 - a foot of powdery snow with gusts up to 40 mph.
A great test of my gear and the TT. But Scotland is much more likely to rain, so last weekend I went back out for 2 days of rain, sleet, and wind.
Trail or stream? Let's say both this weekend as this was a common sight:
Lots of white-out conditions up top but most of the snow was gone. There's a Trailspace Cap under there somewhere - works perfect to keep my hood where I want it.
Temps weren't bad - went into the low 20s but the wind sustained around 20 and gusted up to 30 mph. Lots of ice falling off the trees.
I camped in a pretty open spot the last night - the Stratospire's 2 giant vestibules came in handy as the wind did an about-face in the night so I cooked on one side at dinner and the other in the morning.
A weekend off the trail coming up (but a trip to a BnB with my wife!) then I'll be back on the trail after finishing up a couple of gear reviews. Hope you all get some good winter trips in before they are gone - it's unseasonably warm today down here so I hope that wasn't it for winter!