Favorite place, favorite ride

Sunday saw myself and A.J. heading to the mountains of western N.C.-him for a week summer camp near Black Mtn. and me for some type of single-speed, leg-shearing extravaganza. Drop off went smooth, got to hang out, eat lunch and sit by the lake for a couple of hours then it was on to some riding. I had some ideas and with flying solo and not having to be anywhere, I decided to do something I haven’t done in awhile. Drove to North Mills River and parked, rode up FR1206 to Yellow Gap, where a funny thing happened. I noticed someone parked there but since I was in head down mode to get up the first little grunt off the road to begin the Laurel Mtn. trail, I didn’t look closely at the person getting ready to start their ride. As soon as I got into the woods I heard “hey Gary!” and I was like WTF, I’m in Pisgah and someone knows me? Stopped and hear comes Carlton, a grad-assistant with the UT outdoor program, complete with full-rigid single-speed! He was there to spend a few days camping and riding and said he hadn’t ridden in Pisgah before and was planning Laurel Mtn. loop (from the guidebook). I told him that was what I was doing and that he should join me. So, off we went up,up,up and chatted some-I only know him from some dealings at the shop and enjoyed the hard effort to get up to the top.
Once at the top I told him to be careful in that Pilot Rock is the rockiest, steepest, rideable trail in the area. We did stop partway down to enjoy the view and the blooms!


Made it down without any problems, went down 1206, then into Pilot Cove/Slate Rock loop. Hiked some, rode some and made the push up the next ridge to another great viewing area.

Down the next trail, back to 1206 then up to Yellow Gap. I gave Carlton my map of Pisgah, told him all the riding he could ever want was right here and to have fun. Bombed down 1206, but because I’m a moron and didn’t think that was quite enough riding, I took a left just before where I had parked and rode up FR5000 towards Trace Ridge. Went up and did a short loop off of the road then back down to end up with 4 1/2 hours of riding for the day! Then it was on to Papa’s and Beer-“Dos Equis senor?” “Si, muy grande, por favor!”

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