30% Chance of Rain

Sooner or later, I am going to remember that this time of year, 30% chance of rain is basically an everyday occurrence. The last few weekends, the sight of the rain cloud icon in the weekend forecast has sent me fleeing climbing plans and doing things like hiking and gardening. While these activities are perfect for this time of year, at the end of the weekend, I am slightly kicking myself as I realize the area rock is perfectly dry.

Still, the conditions have been fabulous lately for hiking in Pisgah National Forest. The cloud cover and cooler temps have made for crisp mornings and cool evenings. Just when you think the clouds will block your views, you hit a vista with ethereal, passing clouds and are thankful for this exact forecast creating this exact view.

Saturday I grabbed the dogs and headed to the Big East Fork Parking Area off of 276 and headed out the Shining Creek Trail. This trail follows a creek nearly the entire way up to the Art Loeb, making it a truly tranquil setting and loads of fun for the dogs. The trail was especially uncrowded and quiet. Depending on which map you believe, the trail is roughly 3.5 miles to the Art Loeb, where you can easily turn around or try to make a loop with Old Butt Knob Trail. I had hoped to do the loop, but found no clear sign of the OBK trail, so I returned the way I came.

I was a little surprised that these two trails did not have blazes or signage, since they are accessed by such a nice parking area. It is easy to follow Shining Creek, but I never saw any sign of Old Butt Knob Trail in the two places I should have intersected it. Also, if you are looking to find Shining Creek from the Art Loeb, good luck! This area of the Art Loeb is not well marked, and there are numerous dead ends that merely lead to camping spots and blueberry bushes. From the Art Loeb, Shining Creek is easy to miss, although there are a couple of wood steps leading into what looks like a narrow path and soon becomes a well traveled path.

Still, I really enjoyed the massive trees, the raging creeks and the seemingly bashful burgundy Trillium. Check this trail out if you want to go beyond the BRP!

Climb Globally, Shop Locally
Looking Glass Outfitters
69 Hendersonville Hwy
Pisgah Forest, NC 28768

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