Baxter Creek to a Sterling Skidmore Birthday Celebration

May 21-22  2011

The sun set on this beautiful evening and for some of our crowd, it was not soon enough.

I'm not mentioning any names but, a few thought that my choice of trails was a bit, um, "over the top".

  I have no idea what they are talking about.  I mean really.  4200 feet of elevation gain in six miles?  We do that in our sleep.

Well, except for this guy.  He is used to doing that on a horse.

And for Dennis, it is all in a day's work.  Here at the beginning of Baxter creek, the flat spot is deceptive.

"But I am going to tell them no differently."

Besides, by the time we were done, I had them hanging on for dear life.  You could argue they were preparing to bury me deep somewhere too.

Stephanie, here ya go.  It was one of two Saturday, the other was a garter.  I've never seen Comrade Chambers jump so high or squeal so loudly.

The higher we went, the more wildflowers we encountered.  Spring stays later in the high country.  Baxter creek begins in a heavily logged hardwood forest and concludes in a balsam fir stand.  Grady might argue that it was a fir patch all right.  A darned fur patch to travel all right.

Don't shoot the messenger.  I told youns that it was going to be a climb.

President Dumplin had no part of that business, choosing instead to ascend via the Mt. Sterling Ridge trail.

" A wise choice indeed," quoth our counsellor, and boy of Honor, Massah Skidmore, who coincidentally made the same choice.  I think this picture says it all.  Refreshed versus whooped.  We were all kinda dragging by the time we finished our four hour and five minute climb.

Including Comrade Chambers and Dennis who were anxiously awaiting the rapture along with the SouthernHighlander ilk atop beautiful Mt. Sterling.

Jon decided that if he made several trips up to the tower, he would be first in line for the prognosticated ascension.  Here he is seen pondering his lifetime sin versus redemption checklist.

Jerky Mike put on a firebuggery clinic and did bring the party favors for Skidmores celebration.  Incidentally, Skid then turned around and insulted Mike by saying disparaging things about his family.  That is the Highlander way, by the by.

I wasn't raptured in the biblical sense but was in rapture vis a vie the following landscapes.  Enjoy this brief montage from Sterling tower Saturday evening.

As we descended Sunday morning, Grady explores the manway off Baxter creek trail.

Can't beat a weekend when there is not a drop of precip, the stars were blazing, Jack was reverend (at least until I fell asleep) and Chambers didn't ride in on a horse.  Apparently, last weekend, when Dave and Kevin went to Anthony Creek, Chambers came riding into camp and approached what he thought was my tent.  Quickly realizing it was Will instead, he removed himself from the area and sought redemption by hiking with us on this trip.  We are glad to accommodate and quarter any recovering equestrians.

Another useless statistic for ya.  Again, with the heart rate monitor, I captured the following data:   Total time ascent up 4200 feet to Sterling Tower was four hours and two minutes.  Including a water break and another short stop, my heart rate avg was 121.  But the staggering piece of info is the calorie burn, 2149 total calories for that four hour walk.  Great exercise and training, I'd say.  Hiking with a "heavy" backpack burns more calories than the equally distant run, given of course the rate of ascent.

And finally, in true Highlander fashion, Grady was first off the mtn, ensuring that his track record in Hike Offs with Chamber is intact.  Remember this?  Next time, I expect some Michael Flatley Riverdanceoff type deal.  You guys are getting too predictable.

We wish Dave a happy 61st birthday.  Huzzaah!

Also, please take a look at Scooter's (the Edge, Hunley)'s latest project.  He is going to ascend Mt. Washington and do it for a good cause.  Here is a link to his worthwhile project.  Contribute if you are so moved.  I was.