Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Cold Mountain Lives Up To Its Name....

A few brave students followed Bob Pinkston, Natural Resources Technician, to the summit of Cold Mountain on Saturday, October 17th for our once monthly adventure excursion. We began with a light rain and decided to take the hike anyway with expectations of a snow flurry or two once in the higher elevations. The flurries began about half way up and the students were excited to see some snow with fall colors in their peak. After arriving at Deep Gap, about three fourths to the top, the snow was really sticking and had accumulated up to about 1.5 to 2 inches on the ground and sticking to all leaves hanging over the trail. The conditions turned brutal quickly with wet snow and 25 degree temperatures. No view was available at the summit so we changed out wet clothing, ate, drank, and quickly headed back down the mountain. One student was not really prepared for these conditions, so I wanted her moving back down quickly to keep her core temperature up and avoid possible hypothermia.

Footing was very difficult with new wet leaves covering rocks on the trail and snow on top of that. After getting back to deep gap elevation, snow turned to light rain again and the effort
had warmed everyone back up again. No one was really in danger, but it was a learning experience and a challenge for the students to test their abilities. I have climbed Cold Mountain literally over 100 times in the last thirty years, at least one hike for every season of the year, just a ritual of mine. I love taking the students on these monthly events and passing on any skills that I have acquired on these adventures and share the breath taking views and challenges sometimes encountered in seeking out those views. No long distance views this time, but the sight of fresh, mid-October snow, highlighting peak fall colors was well worth the cold and wet hike. Come join us next month. Forgive the blurry picture, the camera sensor was not working correctly in the cold. This was Jeremy Graves', Forestry Club President, third summit on Cold
Mountain with me. (**** post by Bob Pinkston****)


Ashley Derks said...

Next time I'll be more prepared!! Can't wait for the next hike up :)

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