Escalading from Wilmington
(updated: Aug 20, 2012)
Once in a while I manage to escape Wilmington, the Escalade capital of the South, and head to the mountains in my Escalade. Now, Escalades and bicycles are about as compatible as sophisticated Parisians and vacuous middle-class suburban Americans (or is that sophisticated suburbanites and vacuous Parisians), but damn if you can’t fit a lot of bikes in them, or on them, or most likely if you drive one and you’re from Wilmington, underneath them. So as the showers of sparks emanated from various bike parts stuck beneath the undercarriage as I drove 90mph down I-20, I thought about how great it will be to get away from everything and have the trails all to myself, in the same way Wilmingtonians must feel about the roads when they drive their giant lumbering SUVs about town.
By the way, nobody told me about the new app where you see how fast and close you can come to cyclists without hitting them while you yap on your phone at the same time. I think it’s called iBuzz. It uploads the data to Strava where you can compare results with other a-hole drivers. You know, I am way behind on the all the new apps and things you can do to keep yourself occupied during the apparently excruciatingly mundane task of piloting a 6000lb vehicle at incredible speeds.
So for me, arriving in Pisgah is essentially like a kid being in Disney World for the first time, only they don’t make you empty your wallet of cash and credit cards and eat your dreams while you wait in line for eternity. For example, Sliding Rock only costs a dollar per person, you don’t have to wait long, and you can slide all day on your ass until it’s black and blue. Quite entertaining to watch others do it as well. Greenslick in Bent Creek is a death defying roller coaster, and Avery Creek is like a log flume, and by flume I mean giant rut filled with rocks instead of water. There are swimming holes at the base of waterfalls. You can catch real fish and see real wildlife in beautiful natural settings. And along hikes you are greeted by fairies that can slow time, grant you all your wishes, and then fly you all over Pisgah like Peter Pan. Ok, maybe not that last part … or maybe.
Then you wake up and you’re back in Wilmywood with a foggy memory, missing limbs, bill collectors from the hospital calling, and some guy leaving a mangled up bike in your driveway and driving off in an Escalade.
At least I had my camera to remember it by.
Here is Sliding Rock.
Sliding Rock video clip. My kids and I are in this video:
Top of Clawhammer at Black Mountain Trailhead. Notice anything hilarious?
Here's a closer look. No rollerblading? Dude, if you can rollerblade or mountain blade this shit, more power to you.
A few years ago when riding this trail (Black Mountain) on a cold winter day, I passed two guys camping out here. They were standing in the shelter in undershirts and were barefoot, drinking something (unsure what but probably not hot chocolate).
I'm sure it was these guys that wrote this on the lean-to, for everyone to be inspired to complete their journey. Or maybe it was to remind everyone that they have become marshmallowy couch potatoes and should strive to be more like them, meaning wearing t-shirts and hanging around in the woods barefoot in the middle of winter, drinking.
So with those inspiring words, I carried on and upward:
Until I passed something on the side of the trail which made a very weird noise and was moving around, which made me make a noise sounding not unlike a scream. I don't know what it was - weasel? Timber rattler? Regardless, the effect was to give someone near their max heart rate at shot of adrenalin. The upshot was that I reached the summit really quickly.
The downside was then I didn't feel too good:
No massive coronary, from then on it was down to the Avery Creek trailhead, and then Avery Creek all the way to the fireroad and back to the horse stables where I started. I hadn't ridden Avery for a few years, and I don't remember it being so crazy washed out and steep with loose rocks and ruts. I didn't get any photos of these sections but I made it through without killing myself. It wasn't pretty. Let's just say it was like making sausage ... it comes out great in the end but you never want to see how it's done ... and leave it at that.
A waterfall along Avery Creek:
Avery Creek trail:
Switching parks, I now take you to DuPont, where we did a hike up Big Rock trail and got caught in a passing rainstorm.
Pano. Click to enlarge:
Big Rock Trail overlook:
Google Earth (.kml) files and GPS eXchange (.gpx) files.
TRAIL GPS COORDS (4)
1. Michael said...
Great photos....funny narrative! Sometimes I wonder if you're inhaling too much Escalade fumes though.
Aug 21, 2012 @ 8:25 PM
2. Josh said...
Always a good ride!
Next time you're heading to the mountains, Warrior Creek, or Rocky Knob, hit me up. I'm in Charlotte and could easily meet!
7 oh 4 five 7 six 6 six 4 four
Aug 23, 2012 @ 12:10 PM
3. Mark said...
Too funny! Love the full face shots.
Aug 28, 2012 @ 8:01 AM
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