Although it's taken me all week to sit down and write about our trip to Highlands, NC, it was a fantastic long weekend. S fell even more in love with the place and instantly understood how special it all is to me, especially CMW.
We were blessed with warm weather and sun Friday and Saturday, although we didn't reckon with how wet the rock at Looking Glass would be this time of year. Southside Wall probably would have been fine, but we decided to check out Hidden Wall in all its cool, dark, moss and fern-covered glory. And the 2-pitch route we wanted to climb was wet. Part of exploring new climbing areas is getting skunked some of the time--not knowing the routes, the character of the rock, conditions. We found one lovely 5.9 crack-to-face climb and decided that Looking Glass locals must have a high tolerance for run-out routes and crusty, lichen-covered rock. Crazy nuts.
A hike up Chimney Top gave us one of the coolest views of Whiteside Mountain in the area. Except for all the houses poking out from the ridgelines (Don't even get me started on zoning and land use in Jackson County, NC). From the size and number of buds on the mountain laural and rhododendron, it's going to be a beautiful summer down there. I hope we can get back down soon.