March 12, 2016
I have a theory: if you draw an imaginary 3 miles radius around a parking lot at a trail head; all conversation within that 3 miles is awful. All conversation outside of it is exponentially better. Why? I have no idea.
The second hike of the day was just outside of Coontree Picnic Area, off of Hwy. 267 near Brevard. The Coontree Loop Trail is a nice little jaunt, with a slight elevation gain to a ridge with picturesque views of Black Mountain to the northwest and John Rock to the southwest.
The trail/loop splits 1/4 mile from 276. I took the right half, hiking the trail counterclockwise. The elevation gain was pretty stark for a moderate hike.
At the height of the ridge I had a most pleasant conversation with two female day-hikers. We talked about the trail, talked about the view, talked about hiking in the area. It was enjoyable.
For one (1) mile, Bennett Gap Trail coincides with Coontree. After that mile, Coontree splits to the left back to the parking lot. This portion of the trail runs beside several creeks, with spectacular sounds. I enjoyed seeing a garter snake basking in the sun, leaves on the trail floor, the shiny mica shimmering in the water and sun.
As I approached the car I saw a couple just starting their hike. “Hello, how are y’all?” No response. “I hope you have a nice hike.” Proverbial sound of crickets chirping. Oh well. I honestly hope they had a good hike.
Total mileage is 3.7 miles.