Devil's Courthouse - Black Balsam Knob - Tennent Mt. - NC

September 24, 2013

Today's hike was off of the Blue Ridge Parkway in NC. We hiked the short Devil's Courthouse Trail followed by a loop hike to Black Balsam Knob and Tennent Mountain by the Art Loeb Trail and to Ivestor Gap and Ivestor Trail back to our start. Total hike today - 8 beautiful miles.

HIKERS: Karen Brown, Stephen Gales, Greta Driggers, Jim Driggers, David Hinson, Dick Metzgar, Tony Presley, Vic Robson and Pom Sinnock.

TRAIL INFO. - Stunningly beautiful hike with quite a bit of hiking above 6,000 ft. The Devil's Courthouse Trail is a 1 mile round trip on a mostly paved, very steep trail to the giant rock cliff peak with 360 degrees of magnificent mountain views.

For the Black Balsam Knob hike, we parked at the end of Black Balsam Rd. to the trailhead parking lot and hiked back up the road to the Art Loeb Trail and hiked to the highest summit that we ever explore. 6,214 ft. Black Balsam Knob. It is a climb of several hundred feet but well worth the effort! Simply fantastic views in all directions. Then we continued over to the next peak at Tennent Mountain. 6,040 ft. elevation. The trail is heavily eroded with very deep trenches that require careful walking. The views here are just as good if not better than Black Balsam. Next, we continued down the mountain to Ivestor Gap and followed the Ivestor Gap Trail back to the parking lot. Directions: From Clayton, GA, take Hwy. 441 to Franklin, NC and turn right on 441 / (23) and continue through Dillsboro and highway 23 will fork off to the right and you stay on 23 to the Balsam community until you see a sign for the Blue Ridge Parkway. Turn onto the Parkway entrance and take the parkway toward Asheville. There are mile posts along the way. Near mile post 422, you will see the parking lot for Devil's Courthouse. Next, continue to Forest Service Road 816 near Parkway mile post 420. Turn left onto the FS 816 and drive a mile and a half or so to the trail parking lot. For the Black Balsam hike, walk back up the road a quarter mile or so and take the Art Loeb Trail.

Another great day for a hike! Partly cloudy with temperatures ranging from 53 to 65 degrees F.

FLOWERS IN BLOOM: White Heath Aster, Bushy Aster, Stiffleaf Aster, White Snakeroot, Joe Pye Weed, Roan Mt. Goldenrod, Silverrod, Coreopsis, Yellow Asters and Sunflowers( various), Heal All, Mountain Saxifrage, Stiff Gentian, Bottle Gentian, Striped Gentian, Dodder, Mountain Angelica(Filmy)(large brownish seed heads in all of our meadows), Mountain Ash(tree with masses of brilliant red berries along all our trails) Southern Mountain Bush Honeysuckle(seed heads on shrubs along all our trails), and Bog Cranberry( fruiting, Blueberries in fruit.

BIRDS IDENTIFIED: Broad-winged Hawk, Red-shouldered Hawk, Song Sparrow, and Dark-eyed Junco. Hundreds of hawks migrating.

SCROLL DOWN FOR PHOTOS FROM TODAY'S HIKE!


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Our first hike today!
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The summit of Devil's Courthouse!
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The start of a day filled with stunning views!
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Information plaque at the observation area.
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Next, we move over to the trailhead for Black Balsam Knob.
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Walking up the road to the Art Loeb Trail.
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We see lots of late summer wildflowers. Bottle Gentian!
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We saw lots of berry-loaded Mountain Ash Trees!
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Another great day for a hike!
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Making the climb toward Black Balsam Knob!
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6,214 ft. Black Balsam Knob!
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Here we are climbing up the slope to Tennent Mountain (6,040 ft. elevation).
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Typical views as we hike along the ridges of these magnificent mountains!
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Amazing site today as we saw hundreds of Broad-winged Hawks migrating.
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We found these Bog Cranberries on the Ivestor Gap Trail!
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The OFHC gang for today's hike. (l-r) Tony Presley, Vic Robson, Jim Driggers, Greta Driggers, Karen Brown, Dick Metzgar, Pom Sinnock, Stephen Gales and Dave Hinson.

VIDEO FROM TODAY'S HIKE BELOW!

CLICK PHOTO BELOW FOR MANY MORE AMAZING PHOTOS FROM THIS HIKE!

Black Balsam Knob - Tennent Mt. 9-24-13

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