Here we are on the ridge of the Linville Gorge in western North Carolina. We had a great, short trip and got to spend some much needed together time and time away from all the must-do lists that come with a home and large garden.
We started our hike from the parking lot at Wolf Pit Road. Loaded up all the gear (why do our packs seem to get heavier with each trip???!), and trudged up the mountain. The first mile or so was not fun. I thought I was in decent shape, but I could only do 10-15 steps and then I had to stop and breathe. I suppose Jillian's workout tapes don't include 30 jumping jacks with a 40 lb backpak on a 30% incline. Well, they should.
Kane was a trooper, very sure-footed and sniffing every bush, log, rock and tree. I was a little worried about bears, but I had found a new fellow blogger, Sam, and after reading her hiking story at Linville Gorge, I felt better. If she could do it - I could do it! Luckily we did not see any bears, but we certainly smelled them in a few areas. Peeee-eeeewww!
After we made it up the mountain, there were some beautiful views and a nice breeze on this otherwise humid and hot day. We found a shady spot under a rock outcropping and sat down to make some lunch.
For lunch I had found an organic corn and green chili soup (just add water) and we added some couscous to make it a little more filling. We had decided early on to NOT purchase the ready-made freeze-dried outdoor food, but instead try to bring real food, as light and easy to cook as possible. We both agree that the food we had on this trip was great. We have a book on outdoor cooking from Sweden and I found another website called backpackingchef.com where you can find recipes and how-tos.
We found a gorgeous little camp site on a ridge a little ways off the main trail. It had a fire-ring, and some cleared moss-covered areas perfect for cooking and for our tent. Kane loves camping. He take pride in carrying his pack (his own food and water), he loves to sleep in the tent, he alerts us to other hikers that come near our camp (but once he gets to "meet" them, he is all love!)
Bringing food for Kane gets a little tricky since he is on a raw diet. I don't exactly want to carry raw chicken with me on the trail (see note about bears above, then add possible mountain lions, foxes etc.) So I found this dehydrated raw diet called Honest Kitchen that you mix with water.
You can tell he likes it from that food "moustache"! :-)
My husband, the camp pyro. It did scare away most of the flies and mosquitoes though. :-)
Dinner was pancetta and chicken tortellini (frozen so it thawed as we hiked) with a cream sauce (milk powder and water + a few drops of olive oil) flavored with salt, pepper and nutmeg. WOW!
Next time - we will strive to make it a little (read A LOT) further...All in all with the blueberry bushes, the mountain laurel and the rhododendron in bloom - it was a beautiful weekend! (This is where I don't mention the rain on the hike back that had us soaked through with water squishing out of our boots 20 minutes into a 4 hour hike. You can bet I was glad we had that stash of dry clothes in the car!