November 11, 2017
The home-stretch is upon the Pisgah 400. Originally, I thought of doing 28 miles and finishing the challenge in a crazy blaze of glory. As I reflected on that idea, I realized that is not how I have hiked over the past 2 years. I’ve taken my time, enjoyed the trails, savored the moments in the woods.
The Pisgah 400 encompasses the section of the Mountains-to-Sea Trail (MST) from Haywood Gap to the French Broad River. It runs along the Blue Ridge Parkway (BRP) for the majority of the hike. Last October I hiked the section from Haywood to Pigeon Gap.
This time I would hike from Pigeon Gap to Buck Spring Gap. The majority of this trail coincides with the Buck Spring Trail. I won’t go into much detail regarding the route, as it is detailed wonderfully by the Friends of the MST in their guidebooks. It is worth mentioning that there is a 1-mile stretch of the Buck Spring Trail that is not along the MST and runs up towards Hwy. 276.
It was a cold 21 degrees as I started the hike at Pigeon Gap. Bundled up, I thoroughly enjoyed this beautifully maintained section. Cascading down the hill were numerous creeks, small undulating waterfalls littered the terrain. The fall leaves have already descended to the forest floor and the swishing of my shoes filled the air with a pleasant noise.
At Buck Spring Gap are the remnants of the Buck Spring Lodge built by George Vanderbilt. That was the only time I encountered people, throngs stopping at the overlook off the BRP to enjoy the beautiful vistas.
Total mileage is 10.4 miles.