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Beginner Backpacking

The Basics:
Event Type:Backpacking
Event Location: Shining Rock Wilderness
Date(s) & Time:Sat, Oct 14 2006  9:00 am >> N/A
Registration Opens: Mon, Jan 1 2007 12:00 am
Registration Cut Off: Wed, Oct 4 2006 11:59 pm
Event Duration:per itinerary
Difficulty Rating:D1: Easy
Trip Leader(s):
Bo Slaughter
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Member Cost:None

Participant Info:
Who's Invited: Members Only, 21 And Older Only
Maximum Group Size:9
Minimum Group Size:2
Number Registered So Far: 7 / 0 (To see who's signed up, log in to the Member Area)
Are Dogs Permitted: No


Black Balsam Knob is the highest mountain in the area we are traveling to at 6214. It is right off the Blue Ridge Parkway, and we will leave the cars in a lot at the base of the mountain.

We will backpack approximately 2 to 2 ½ hrs on a trail called the Ivestor Gap Trail so called because, well, it goes through Ivestor Gap where we will cross into the Shining Rock Widlerness. The trail used to be a railroad line when these mountains were being mined and forested so it is very flat and very easy. At the end of the Ivestor Gap trail is Shining Rock Gap, so called because, well, it is a large gap at the base of Shining Rock Mountain. Well tent there.

From that base camp we will dayhike around the area and explore. We will visit Shining Rock mountain, so called because, well, the mountain is shiney. The summit is made almost entirely of quartz crystal and therefore “shines” in the sunlight.

Nearby are other interesting mountains such as Dog Loser Knob, Old Butt and Cold Mountain which is famous for the novel and movie named after it. (Dont ask me where Old Butt Mountain got its name. I dont want to know.)

Sunday morning we can explore some more on the way back to the cars if the group wishes. We can climb Black Balsam Knob which has a fantastic 360 degree view from its treeless summit, or hike down into the Graveyard Fields, so called because a fire earlier in the century left only black tree stumps making it look like a graveyard, to the Pigeon River.

There will be a mandatory meeting on Sunday 10/8 at 5pm to go over details, discuss gear needs, etc. If you dont have everything you need let me know and we may be able to share or find you gear. Look below for a list.

Required Items to Bring:
Backpack, tent, sleeping bag, sleeping pad: most of these items can be rented at REI or we might be able to find extras or share. For example, I have a couple of tents and an extra sleeping pad (ultra-lightweight air mattress).

1 Dinner, 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch and snacks: Dehydrated dinners can be purchased at REI, and you only need to add hot water. For breakfast I usually bring instant oatmeal and coffee, etc. My lunches are usually those foil packets of tuna or chicken on either peta bread or tortillas.. things that wont get squished in a backpack. Good snacks are trailmix, healthy energy bars or even plain ol Snickers. At the grocery store, be creative but keep it simple and lightweight.

In the wilderness no campfires are allowed. I have a cooking stove perfect for heating water. If someone also has one thatd be perfect, or well try to borrow one.

I also have a water filter. Its probably fine for 10 people for one night but another one would be even better. Well see.

You will also need appropriate clothing. Synthetic hiking clothes are perfect. I discourage wearing cotton or denim for hiking because if it rains you can get very wet and it doesnt dry quickly, and therefore you can get very cold.

For sleeping clothes bring whatever is comfortable.

The Sunday meeting will go over all this and I can answer any questions then, but feel free to email me anytime.

Recommended Items to Bring:
Use our Event Checklists to make sure you have everything you need.
Please read required items carefully!

How to Get There:
Event Directions:Pisgah National Forest, NC Meet at the carpool location only! I85 North. Take Hwy 11, the first exit inside South Carolina, north for 48 miles. Turn left onto Hwy 178 towards Rosman, NC. After 17 miles turn right onto US64 through Brevard. Turn left onto Hwy 276. Take 276 to the Blue Ridge Parkway, turning left onto the parkway. After about 8 miles, turn right onto Black Balsam Knob Rd to the parking lot and trailhead.


There will be a mandatory meeting on Sunday 10/8 at 5pm to go over details, discuss gear needs, etc.
* We encourage all members to follow our Etiquette Guidelines while participating in AOC events.

Cost Includes:Carpool money for gas, we may purchase breakfast on the way to the hike, or lunch on the way home.

Cancellation/Partial Attendance:   Please review the AOC cancellation policy.