Wilkes County Highpoint Trip Report
Date: May 23, 2006
Author: Shannon Dillmore
On my last free day for awhile, I set out from Raleigh at 5 am to hit
Grandfather Mountain, Tomkins Knob and Brushy Mountain (Caldwell, Watauga,
Wilkes and Yadkin NC CoHPs respectively). I elected to go for the top of
Tomkins Knob first.
This is superficially an easy peak to bag. I parked at the Tomkins Knob
overlook on the Blue Ridge Parkway, then walked about a half mile west on the
road, and then headed south for light bushwhacking to the peak. At this point,
I realized I left the map and compass at home but, as the summit lies only about
0.4 mile off the road, I figured it would be easy to locate. It was; all I had
to do was follow the rising ground. I found the top with the BM, taking note of
landmarks. It took 23 minutes to reach the top from the overlook, about 3/4 of
a mile with 440 feet of elevation gain. The way back took three hours.
I somehow got turned around and hit a cliff, knowing I was certainly going in the
wrong direction. I wasn't sure if I could find the top again, so I kept
proceeding downwards, finding an old jeep road that turned in to logging roads,
and finally came to a gravel road. At this point I was pretty sure I was on the
wrong side of the ridge, and stopping to talk with a friendly local confirmed
this suspicion. He very graciously offered to give me a lift back to my car,
a 12 mile trip. He would not accept any money for gas.
I learned yet again that striking off into trailess wilderness - no matter how
close to a road - with no navigation tools is a foolish idea. If I had turned
left instead of right at the gravel road, I would have walked eight or so miles
before reaching a residence.
The extra time on the return trip meant I had no time for Grandfather Mountain.
I bagged Yadkin county on the way home, using the trip report as a guide.