Wednesday, January 1, 2014

New Years Day 2014 Hawksbill Mountain


From Wiseman's View we spotted someone who like us hiked Hawksbill on New Years Day
FBWG and Jake
The nice folks who run the North Carolina Parks System encourage the citizens of our fine state to "take a hike" on New Year's Day....and what is a Fat Bald White Guy to do?....  We decided to return to our favorite mountain peak in the Linville Gorge....Hawksbill Mountain ( with one change.... We are hoping to take a sponsor!  Yep, the new year offers the FBWG and his Hiking Companion to hike with a sponsor....if it is good enough for Dale, is good enough for the FBWG.... For 2014, the FBWG and his hiking companion are hoping to be sponsored by the good folks at Bank of North Carolina.....and accompanying me today was a representative of the Bank of North Carolina, my good friend and banker extraordinaire, Mike Jacobs.  Drop into the Bank of North Carolina in Kernersville, and tell the folks there that the Fat Bald White Guy sent you....they will treat you real nice!  Mike had spent a great deal of time in his career in Boone, but had never hiked in the Linville Gorge. He was in for a treat.

Hawksbill Mountain (r) and "Bubba Ridge"(l)

We began our hike at the Sitting Bear Trail Head off of NC Forest Road 210.  We like to start here as it provides us with a nice 2.0 mile trek to the summit by way of the Jonas Ridge trail across an unnamed peak which I have dubbed "Bubba Ridge".  As expected we were the only hikers on this trail, not seeing another party until we were halfway up the summit trail to Hawksbill Mountain.  Since my Hiking Companion gave me a new camera for Christmas, she is now armed with my old camera....and she was eager to take some pics of The FBWG and his sponsor....I did tell you he works for BANK OF NORTH CAROLINA, didn't I?  (

Sitting Bear Mountain
Hawksbill Mountain from Jonas Ridge Trail

Along the Jonas Ridge Trail across Bubba Ridge, we got glimpses of both Sitting Bear Mountain and our destination, something you don't see on a summertime hike.  Somehow the peaks look a lot bigger if you can see where you are hiking but at least we were not doing Sitting Bear as I remember how steep that hike is!

Looking East from Hawksbill Summit Trail
We soon made it across the ridge and began the summit trail which is as steep but not as long as I remembered...and during one of my frequent breaks I took some pics of the views to the east.
Having only visited the summit of Hawksbill in the summer of 2012, I was concerned that the spectacular vista seen on that visit would be diminished on this winter's day.  I was right the view was not spectacular, but in the words of Bank of North Carolina Banker Extraordinaire, Mike Jacobs: "Words cannot describe this view, it is simply magnificent!"  Yep, you got that right!
Table Rock Mountain and Linville Gorge South

The weather was in the mid-thirties and a light wind made us thankful for the warm sun.  Mike was overwhelmed by the view and we scrambled across the rocks to a lower cliff to get a better view...and of course my Hiking Companion got some photos.  And true to form, she also got a nice promo shot for the cover of the first "Hiking with Fat Bald White Guy - Bank with Bank of North Carolina" advertisements.  I mean seriously, what better pitch man for a bank than a Fat Bald White Guy who hikes the most beautiful places in the State of North Carolina... Flo, the pitchwoman for Progressive Insurance ain't got nothing on the FBWG!  We took several pictures from the south side of the summit but this one I liked as the Blue Ridge seems to melt into the blue winter sky.

Hawk's Bill Cliff
Telling Mike that the north side of the summit offer even better views, he was anxious to see how any view could be better than the ones he just saw.   We went straight to the Hawk's Bill Cliff and he got to see a 180 degree view of the mountains and gorge north, west and east of Hawksbill Mountain.

Linville Gorge North

From this side of the summit, you can see Sugar Top Condos atop Sugar Mountain and the nice homes of Gingercake Acres.

We also got Mike to pose for another Hiking with a Fat Bald Guy-Bank of North Carolina promo ad with Table Rock in the background....hey it will catch on...'Banking with the Fat Bald White Guy' has a nice ring to it, don't you think? 

 On the cliff  facing the east we took a lunch break and  marveled at all the beauty of God's creation.

As I have often observed, Table Rock Mountain is the grande dame of the Linville Gorge and no matter where you are, you are drawn to this distinctive geological marvel.  Even as we enjoyed the views to the north and east, as we turned to return to the summit trail, the beauty of Table Rock again drew our attention.

Leaving the summit trail, I spied a trail running off to the left and upon inspection found it to be the illusive Ledge Trail.  The trail has been recently cleared as I observed freshly cut branches and red survey tape.  We quickly scampered down the trail and found ourselves beneath the Hawk's Bill Cliff.  We soon found our way to a small cliff facing north with a stunning view of the Gorge. 

Resisting the urge to explore the trail further, we turned back to the summit trail but not before we played around the cliff wall and looked for caves....only finding icicles.

Arriving again at the summit trail, I decided this to be a good place to erect a cairn.  We explained to Mike the history of this Cherokee traditional marker.  It will serve a good purpose to indicate the Ledge Trail, but more importantly it all allowed us to explain that by constructing this cairn, we offer our own prayer of thanksgiving to our Creator for all the gifts of nature we enjoy.  As we enter this new year, it is my hope that each of you that you will join with me in praying...

Be Thou my Vision, O Lord of my heart;
Naught be all else to me, save that Thou art.
Thou my best Thought, by day or by night,
Waking or sleeping, Thy presence my light.

Be Thou my Wisdom, and Thou my true Word;
I ever with Thee and Thou with me, Lord;
Thou my great Father, I Thy true son;
Thou in me dwelling, and I with Thee one.

Be Thou my battle Shield, Sword for the fight;
Be Thou my Dignity, Thou my Delight;
Thou my soul’s Shelter, Thou my high Tower:
Raise Thou me heavenward, O Power of my power.

Riches I heed not, nor man’s empty praise,
Thou mine Inheritance, now and always:
Thou and Thou only, first in my heart,
High King of Heaven, my Treasure Thou art.

High King of Heaven, my victory won,
May I reach Heaven’s joys, O bright Heaven’s Sun!
Heart of my own heart, whatever befall,

Still be my Vision, O Ruler of all.

  So how do we rate this New Year's day was simply magnificent.....10+  especially as we got to share the day with a good friend and see him enjoy the beauty of the Linville Gorge.  Let Mike tell you:   "I can tell you I have seen many beautiful places in these mountains, but I don't think there are any that compare with what I have seen today"

Now remember....Banking with the Fat Bald White Guy.... it may be the new slogan for the Bank of North Carolina...don't laugh....if everyone reading the blog will go to BONC and say: "The Fat Bald White Guy sent me" could happen!

"I gave my heart to the mountains the minute I stood beside this river with its spray in my face and watched it thunder into foam, smooth to green glass over sunken rocks, shatter to foam again. I was fascinated by how it sped by and yet was always there; its roar shook both the earth and me." - Wallace Stegner