Is Winter Over?
by Bc Hannold ·
It almost seems as if winter has decided to leave town. While I’m sure there will be more cold nights to come, having temperatures in the upper 60′s makes me wonder. We have a storm bearing down on us today, but that will be rain and wind. Although once it passes we will return to more normal seasonal temperatures of lows around freezing and highs in the 40′s.
It will be a rough day hiking today. The showers are projected to start around 1pm, and will bring wind gusts up to 60 mph. A good gale force blow. Yesterday though was almost ideal. I hiked up the Mt Sterling trail to the fire tower and campsite there, and then hiked a little ways down the Mt Sterling trail. For the uphill I definitely did not need the jacket. The trail starts from Cove Creek road (Old NC 284). Getting to the trail head was the adventurous part. When I got to the point where the road enters the park, a ranger was coming up the road. He asked where I was going. When I told him I was going to the Mt Sterling trailhead he said it was iffy for my little Hyundai Tiburon because of the mud on the road. He was right it was a little iffy at times surfing the shark on the steep switchbacks going up. But the little guy weighs about as much as a tricked out go kart, so I was able to get enough traction to keep going. Although it was pretty interesting at times. The hike from Cove Creek road is relatively steep. The trail ascends about 1900 feet over 2.7 miles. The trail is rocky in parts, to too much mud considering it is also a horse trail. I’ve never seen horse trailers at the trail head though. Its a pretty constant slope up. Once at the the top where the trail meets the Mt Sterling Ridge trail, it is a short hike to the fire tower and campsite #38, which is one of the higher campsites in the park. The view from the fire tower is spectacular, although the haze yesterday precluded any good shots. But this was more of a scouting trip anyway. The mountain top is covered in Firs, so the only scenic views are from the fire tower. It is open so it is accessible. At the top you are shooting through small window panes though so shooting panoramas from the top of the tower would be difficult. All in all it was nice hike. Beautiful weather for a February day, light jacket was all that was needed. I took the little camera on this hike (Panasonic Lumix FZ50 point and shoot) and forgot about shooting a little video while I was up there. The hills were definitely blue yesterday. So far this looks to be one of the best spots I’ve found for Sunrise shots, although you would pretty much have to camp up there to get it. And definitely not be afraid of heights. You would have to be very self conscious of your footing in the fire tower to make sure you do not fall through the opening. Especially while it is dark. So not an easy shot to get. But I may go for it in March.
For February though It was a great hike. Gorgeous weather. I would not want be up there today though. Despite the fact that my car probably would not make it after it gets the downpours today, and the winds gusting to 60 mph in a little box 100 feet off the earth, supported by a metal tower, with possible lightning strikes……… I don’t think so. Not worth the shot today.
Have a great today
Keep on clickn.