The Most Beautiful Ditch in the East: Tips for Exploring the Linville Gorge Hiking Circuit

first_img“The Grand Canyon of the East,” North Carolina’s Linville Gorge, is located entirely in the Pisgah National Forest. This wilderness area provides a playground for all types of outdoor lovers. Sightseers and day hikers commonly visit the various deep swimming holes and gorgeous waterfalls that mark the Linville River. A wide range of trailheads allows for manageable day hikes to premier climbing routes such as Sitting Bear Rock, Table Rock and Amphitheatre. However, Linville Gorge is probably best known for its hiking circuit. Often said to have the most difficult terrain east of the Rocky Mountains, the Linville Gorge Hiking Circuit attracts visitors from all over the country.5Locals to the area cherish this wilderness gem. In fact, those who so often find themselves wandering the woods of the Linville Gorge Wilderness have earned the prestigious nickname “Gorge Rats.” My husband Joel and I spent many months together in the town of Boone – just 45 minutes from Linville. Living in the area surrounding the Linville Gorge, we put in countless hours exploring the rim of the Gorge – hiking short trails and camping on sites along the access roads. This year we sat on the edge of the Wiseman’s View scenic overlook and peered out over the enchanting wilderness. In that moment we decided it was about time we hiked down into the Gorge, camped by the side of the rushing river, and allowed ourselves to be tested by the strenuous hiking circuit.9A few months later, we loaded our packs and headed into the Linville Gorge for a three-day backpacking trip. We made several crucial preparations before leaving home that I would strongly suggest to anyone planning to hike the trails of the Linville Gorge Hiking Circuit: we researched the route, read online Linville Gorge hiking forums and purchased Phil Phelan’s guidebook, “Linville Gorge Hiking Circuit.” Not all trails on the Linville Gorge Loop are well beaten and often the blazed trail can be difficult to follow, so, it is imperative to be prepared and well equipped. In my opinion, no one should step foot into the Linville Gorge Wilderness without, at the least, a compass and topographic map.untitled11Another important preparation for hiking the Linville Gorge Wilderness is, like with any backpacking trip, to consider your water sources. For shorter hikes, you may choose to carry in your supply of drinking water. However, there are no potable water sources within the Gorge. So, if you plan to hike for an extended time, be sure to bring along a filtering system. Apart from avoiding becoming lost, another great reason to bring along a guidebook is for locating quality spots to replenish your water supply. We had been warned to avoid filtering water from the Linville River as it is polluted with farm runoff. So, we opted to filter water from the springs and streams along our hike. Phil Phelan’s guide was helpful for knowing when and where to fill up our water.7There are loads of trailheads that give you the option to hike shorter portions of the Linville Gorge Hikers Circuit. During our three-day trek we made a few mental notes of killer campsites that would be fun to hike into for an overnight trip. Babel Tower, being one of those, can be reached with a day hike from Babel Tower trailhead. However, to complete the hikers circuit, or even a modified version of it, park in the Pine Gap trailhead parking area. The Gorge Circuit begins from the middle of the parking lot on a trail that can be, at times, unrecognizable. A well-beaten trail to the southern corner of the parking lot marked with a “Linville Gorge Wilderness” sign will be the point of return for the hiker circuit.untitled2If you are up for the challenge, the Gorge will win your heart as it pushes you, wears you out and then rewards you with beauty. Those who have walked its soil before have left behind many scattered campsites, each with a small fire pit assembled from rocks found nearby. The best sites come with an incredible view and level ground to sleep on. Weekend hikers must apply for a required permit through the National Park Service.However, if you go on a weekday (like we did), not only will you not need a permit; but you might just have the whole place to yourself. During the three days we spent in the Linville Gorge Wilderness, we only saw one other couple and their dogs. It was refreshing to find ourselves secluded among the soaring mountains and rushing river.9Completing the Linville Gorge Hikers Circuit entails 16,605 ft. of elevation change and 33.93 miles of scaling several mountains, crawling up and down 70-degree inclines and crossing the rushing river. Be prepared to follow your compass, bathe in the river, be awestruck by flawless views and tango with a few copperhead snakes. Whether day hiking or thru hiking the hikers circuit, anytime spent in the Linville Gorge is a transformative experience. We like to call the seemingly magical effect this wilderness has on those who forge its trails a “gorge cleanse.” It is surly a trip you will not regret taking.In order to maintain the “magic,” the most important piece of advice I can give those planning to hike into the Gorge is, “Play your part in preserving the beauty by leaving no trace behind.”Related:last_img read more

New Cassel Man Sentenced for Murder

first_imgSign up for our COVID-19 newsletter to stay up-to-date on the latest coronavirus news throughout New York A man was sentenced Thursday to 35 years to life in prison for shooting a 31-year-old man to death after the gunman and victim got into an argument in their hometown of New Cassel two years ago.A Nassau County jury had found Naqunne Jackson guilty in December of second-degree murder and criminal possession of a weapon following a week-long trial.“This sentence will ensure that this defendant will be held accountable for taking the life of a young man and will not be a threat to the public for a very long time,” Acting Nassau County District Attorney Madeline Singas said.Prosecutors said Jackson shot William Moody two times after an argument on Prospect Avenue at 3:30 p.m. on Sept. 22, 2013.Moody was later found dead from his injuries near the scene of the shooting on State Street. Nassau County police arrested Jackson three days later.last_img read more

How Lingard, Alli, Foden and Maddison can become world class footballers

first_img Gascoigne believes there will never be another player like him, but says England still have quality in their midfield 3 “He was right, wasn’t he? I was the best,” Gazza told The Sun.“There will never be another Bryan Robson.“There will never be another Pele.“And there will never be another Paul Gascoigne. I’m the only Paul Gascoigne and I would never put that pressure on a player to be the next one.”The 51-year-old, though, believes there are supremely talented midfielders emerging, who can become even better if they take more risks and play for the love of playing. There will never actually be another Paul Gascoigne, as the man will tell you himself, but the England legend feels the national team still has players with world class potential.Following the 2-1 loss to Spain in which Thiago Alcantara ran the show, manager Gareth Southgate was asked if the Three Lions will eventually produce someone capable of something similar.“The only one in my lifetime is Gascoigne,” he said of his former team-mate. “And I’m not sure he was developed, I think he was a consequence of a unique talent . . . capable and  willing to have the ball against any opposition.” “I played for the shirt on my back. At 18 years of age I was on £25-a-week.“Nowadays, I see 18-year-olds on £50,000-a-week. And if you’re that age on 50 grand a week, who gives a s**t if you’re playing well or badly?”Gascoigne played 57 times for England and lit up the 1990 World Cup with his displays under Bobby Robson as a fearless 23-year-old playing against some of the biggest names in the world.“All these young players, Dele Alli, Jesse Lingard. James Maddison, Phil Foden, every one of them can be a world-class player.“But it’s up to them. They have to go out and show people. Play with a smile.“Why would you work every day of the week, train for five days for a match, then come the Saturday and not want the ball? You might as well just go home.“Gareth is trying to encourage the players to be the next me.“They won’t be me but they can become themselves. And once they do that, they will become better players.” 3 3 Phil Foden, 18, is starting to break through at Manchester City Dele Alli and Jesse Lingard can be world class, according to Gazzalast_img read more