CMC Meetup-Chasing the White Squirrel
Carolina Mountain Club has recently added yet another way to hike. Paul Benson, in his attempt to be more spontaneous, started a Meetup group as an offshoot of CMC. You know, Meetup? It's a system on the web where people who share a common interest can get together, say they're coming on hikes and then drop out just as easily.
But this is still CMC. So there's a plan, a meeting place and things start on time. For the next few weeks, the organizers decided to concentrate on the Carolina Mountain Land Conservancy's White Squirrel challenge. A little cross-fertilization. The three 2-mile hikes that we did were all on land protected by CMLC.
Worlds Edge is a view at the top of Chimney Rock State Park. Unlike the main entrance with its elevator and its $15 entrance fee, the Worlds Edge entrance starts at a fantastic view down to the Blue Ridge escarpment and down, down down to eventually reach boulders and a stream. I have the long hike in North Carolina's Blue Ridge Mountains. Then, I had to go on an CMLC hike but now it seems that you can hike down on your own.
Bearwallow Mountain can be reached from Florence Preserve, which makes a short all-day hike. Or you can get to the top in just one mile (and one mile down). No matter how you do it, the views are magnificent. We had lunch among the transmission towers looking out at the ridges of mountains. A real Sound of Music view.
On our way up, we saw snow almost right away. Hikers kept clicking their shutters, saying that it's the most snow we might see this year. The top was over 4,200 feet, so it wasn't surprising that there was a little white.
As we moved from hike to hike, with a lot of driving in between, people kept dropping out. By the time, we got down to the Greenway, almost half the group was gone.
The park is just off US 25 in the town of Fletcher. I thought it was an unlikely place for CLMC to get involved but I was wrong. If you read the history of the Greenway, CMLC facilitated the transfer of land from private hands to the town of Fletcher.
They put up signs explaining the importance of the greenway on Cane Creek and the protection of wetlands. We hiked the flat two-miles on the CMLC challenge, though there are plenty of other trails in the park.
The CMC Meet-up group will continue to do the CMLC challenge. Stick with them and you too can get the squirrel patch on your pack.