Hiking Black Balsam Knob

May 22, 2019
May 22, 2019 mikeyang10

Hiking Black Balsam Knob

Preparing for the Hike & Camping Trip at Black Balsam Knob

The last time I went hiking & camping, I was quickly reminded that I was very unprepared. How so?

  • I had cheap hiking boots. I finished my 7-mile hike with blisters on my feet to go along 3 days of aches.
  • It was impossible to sleep because I felt every single root and rock under my sleeping back.
  • My tent was way too big for just my wife and me.
  • I carried far too much weight in my backpack.
  • Early mornings are better with coffee.

This camping trip, I tried my best to resolve all of the issues that I experienced last time. I bought a brand new pair of hiking boots from R.E.I., the Salomon X Ultra 3 Mid. They did a wonderful job. I was able to walk down large rocks without slipping, the ankle support was great, my feet stayed dry as we walked into puddles, and no blisters! I would recommend them to anyone.

We downsized our tent from a 6 person Ozark Trail tent to a 2-person NorthFace Storm Break 2 tent. It was easy to carry and so simple to set up. We literally set it up in about 5 minutes.

I learned that having a sleeping pad is a must. And I packed much lighter for the hike. I ditched the Canon 5D IV for a Canon EOS R. My back thanked me for the switch to mirrorless.

The Day of the Hike

On the morning of, I met with Nager & Ibya at their house. We met with Thomas along the way also. We packed up and left around 7 am on Saturday (5.18.19). 3 hours later, we arrived at Sunburst Campground in Canton, NC. We were able to rest at the quiet campsite, catch some trout in the nearby river, and shared a KBBQ inspired meal up in the mountains.

The rest of the group were busy at the Toccoa Falls Graduation ceremony. They couldn’t meet with us until 2 pm, which is fine because we scheduled our 4-hour hike for 3:30 pm. 3:30 came around and there were no signs of them. We had zero phone signal, so I had to drive to town (20 minutes away) in order to give them a call. 15 minutes into town and I cross paths with Teng’s TSX and Jamie’s Tacoma.

I followed them back to the campsite and the preparation for the hike began.

"Keep close to Nature’s heart… and break clear away, once in awhile, and climb a mountain or spend a week in the woods. Wash your spirit clean."
John Muir

The Hike

I’ve done the trip up to Black Balsam Knob before, so I knew what was ahead of me. However, hiking up to Tennent Mountain would be a new experience. We began our ascent around 4:30 pm.

I’m super out of shape, so I struggled to carry my backpack up Black Balsam Knob. I know the initial hike out of the forest to the summit would be the hardest. Once that was over, the trail flattened out and slightly descended to a small valley.

From the valley, we started our climb up towards Tennent Mountain. It was much easier than the initial climb up Black Balsam Knob. We rested on top of Tennent Mountain for about 15 minutes before we made our way to Sam Knob. We got lost and made unnecessary climbs, but we eventually made our way to Sam Knob and then to the parking lot where we walked another .5 miles to our car.

Below is a photo summary of our weekend together as friends. I hope you enjoy the images and that it helps you understand our story more.