A Frigid Hike Toward Brushy Top Mountain

Located due north from my house and straddling the Rutherford-McDowell County line north of Lake Lure is Brushy Top Mountain. It’s called that because of the esposed granite face on its south slope. Although it is only 1,850 feet high, it provides an excellent vantage point to observe the higher peaks along the eastern escarpment of the North Carolina Blue Ridge. At sunrise this morning, the temperature was at 20 degrees, but with no wind and a bright blue sky, a hike to a new area seemed appropriate. Buddy and Hunter, my two canine companions on my morning walks, were itching for an adventure, so I headed in the direction of Brushy Top, not knowing where we would end up. The lower forest trail, below, was lined with oak trees, still coveting their autumn  leaves even into April…

The rain gullies along the old road were filled with ice from recent rainwater.

Ice Gullies
Another quarter mile and I was entering a forest of Loblolly Pine. Looking back, the oak clusters framed Dick’s Mountain to the southwest with snow clouds drifting by.

Oak Leaf Cluster

Another quarter mile and I was surrounded by pines. Tom’s Mountain to the east was now visible above the trees.

Loblolly Pine Ridge
Looking southeast I could see the large house at a horse farm on Bill’s Creek Road, below.

Bill's Creek Horse Farm
Climbing another quarter mile, I reached the summit of this ridge that leads on to Brushy Top Mountain. The view toward Lake Lure to the southwest was breathtaking. The brilliant blue sky with a few snow clouds on the horizon made the perfect contrast to the mountains along the escarpment.

Blue Ridge Escarpment
The closest mountain was 2,700 foot Young’s Mountain along the northeast side of Lake Lure. (below)

Young's Mountain View
The most distant peak, below, is 3,900 foot Mt. Shumont west of Lake Lure. This is an undeveloped area that has recently been added to the new Chimney Rock Trail encircling Hickory Nut Gorge.

Mount Shumont View
Back toward the west, below, is the large loblolly pine forest inside High Lodges at Otter Creek, a reawakening residential development. The distant ridge is part of 3,100 foot Wolf Pen Mountain.

Wolf Pen Mountain Ridge
On the way back down, a long snow cloud drifted over the escarpment. Over a foot of snow had fallen in the higher mountains over the last three days, and rogue clouds were breaking away from the pack.

Long Snow Cloud
Arriving back at the lower part of the ridge, Hunter found a small pond to have a welcomed drink after a long climb.

We never made it all the way to Brushy Top today, but now that I know the trail, it’s just a matter of time before we go up there.

2 thoughts on “A Frigid Hike Toward Brushy Top Mountain

  1. Amazing pictures, Mr Tour Guide! You know so much about the area, you need to do a book. What views on your hike, know you’re itching to get out on that trail & explore some more. Buddy & Hunter would always want to go with you. I’d be getting a kick out of watching them explore with you. Enjoyed, So I guess you didn’t get to ski, but you have until the 31st.

  2. Love seeing your favorite hikes! Tim and I are in Palm Springs visiting Sue and Jenny — Jenny loves keeping up with Boone through your photos and posts!

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