The View from Hornyhead

No trail to the summit, just a long push through the brush to reach this summit at the southwestern corner of the Middle Prong wilderness, Nantahala National Forest. The last hundred plus vertical feet are a real fight, bare stone precipices rather than anything you can walk upright. It's a long way from anywhere. Too bad there aren't more places left that are.


douglas said...

Pretty view, well earned.

Out West, it's not so hard to get away from "anywhere". The problem is getting away from "anyone". You can be hiking in the Sierra backcountry and never get away from other people for more than half an hour. You really have to go bushwacking off-trail to get any sense of that anymore.

Grim said...

That's true here as well. There are views as good as this or even better that you can just drive yourself to see. But you'll also see people, plenty of them. To get away from people, you have to go into the wilderness areas. But thankfully there are several good ones in western North Carolina: the Shining Rock Wilderness, the Slickrock, and the Middle Prong.

raven said...

That is a nice view. Reminiscent of Northern New England in the White mountains. A place one can see the bones of the earth. Wasn't the film "Last of the Mohegans" filmed in North Carolina? I love a good movie filmed in the outdoors. City based movies leave me all cramped up.
If you ever have the itch to go north, the Brooks Range is a lovely harsh place. Either north to the Arctic plain, or south to the Yukon basin. Some of the valleys on the north are weirdly similar to pictures from Afghanistan. Snow capped peaks rising sharply out of a glacial U shaped valley with only a thread of green in the river bottom. Then they flatten out to tundra and the coastal plain. The south slope is much more verdant,with mixed hardwoods and conifers. I walked from the divide south to the Koyokuk river in August 1985, temps in the mid 70's. Tee shirt weather and cobalt blue skies.

Grim said...

I might be up to the White Mountains late this summer. Some friends and I were going to do the AT section through there.

The Yukon I’ve never seen, but I’d like to do.

raven said...

My family spent most summer vacations up in the White Mountains, dad was a New Hampshire boy. He loved the woods, we spent a lot of time fishing and camping. Few fish are as pretty as an Eastern Brook Trout. Gut them, fry them in cornmeal, grab the tail and slide all the bones out and eat them up crispy skins and all.

My brothers and father used to make a trip to Alaska every year, usually fly in to some place , walk to another and get picked up. Or float down a river. Nowadays it is usually a fishing camp of some sort, as we are older. At the right place, a guy could have a lot of fun getting dropped off , make a base camp and just walk around in the hills. An interest in geology is well rewarded up there, as there is little cover over the earth in many places. They say the Kobuk river is filled with jade.
For maximum envy purposes, I ran into a man who had a little Taylorcraft on floats, who spent his summer flying from one interesting spot to another- what fun! Great care is needed, though -Alaskan weather is notoriously hard on aviators,and gas can be tough to find.
I commented on this once before, the Aniakchak caldera would be a wild and fun trip- sort of a reality version of A.Conan Doyle's "The Lost World". Unless bears eat all your food.

Aggie said...

If you hit the White Mountains, try out the north/south Baldface loops, which includes a stop on the way down at the Emerald pool, for a cool-off dip. It's in the Conway area of NH. If the timing is right (end-ish July) the summit is covered in low bush blueberries, so you can dine with the raccoons and black bears (or at least it was when I last hiked it).

Grim said...

Roger that.

Assistant Village Idiot said...

Hope you do come up. We'll reschedule beer night around you and whatever knuckleheads you call friends. The Kancamagus is something of a soft dividing line between biker-friendly and hiker-friendly bars, so you'll fit in either way. (Everyone says they admire hikers, but not all places actually have staff and clientele happy with people who smell bad.)

Getting away from people is tough in the Whites in the summer. You might just want to write off that part of the dream for this trip and enjoy the serendipity of who you meet. I am deeply fond of many places, for different reasons. I am partial to the Lincoln/Franconia side for hiking, and Moosilaukee to Cannon hike along Kinsman Rridge is nice. There's a short detour to Bridal Veil Falls, which has an Adirondack shelter and a place to dip, sorta swim. You can double back along the Franconia Ridge. The advantages of those two are the many water features in the area, and the fact that each has the other as a view. Remember that tree line is about 1500' less than in NC, so your exposure can be high.* I used to estimate my elevation by 3000' = smell of balsams, 4500'=final tree line. The Presedentials are the big draw, and they really do deserve it.

The trails are diffferent here. Worse. You might remember that I wrote extensively about it years ago.

*I know, there's no bad weather, only bad clothing, but it helps to be ready.

raven said...

"I know, there's no bad weather, only bad clothing, but it helps to be ready.."

For example, always be sure to chain down your weather station houses so they don't blow away in a breeze.