Club Gap Black Mountain and a Black Bear

Club Gap >> Black Mountain

Got an early start just off Highway 276 about half a mile up 477 was the start to Club Gap. This single track starts with an immediate but easy climb, this however is just a teaser, ‘cos it soon gets a lot harder. Although it is not really a steep climb, the baby heads make it a lot harder than it looks.
After about 20 min. you reach the the cross trails of Buckwheat knob >> Avery Creek >> Club Gap and Black Mountain.
I took a left onto “Black Mountain” because this trail would take me straight back to Davidson River Camp Ground.
The climb continued, and I ended up walking for about 20 min. The walk was rewarded with an excellent downhill that lead straight to Buckhorn Gap. The highlight of the day was a very close encounter with a large Black Bear that was very surprised with my sudden appearance, and although he ran off, he stopped about 40 yards ahead of me, and was very curious what it actually was that startled him, by this time I was off the bike, behind a tree videoing him.
I stopped for a snickers at the very bug infested Buckhorn Gap Shelter, the same place I had turned around a few days ago.
Now came the scary part, ‘cos I now knew what I had ahead of me, and I got tired just by thinking of it, I knew it was going to be a lung busting mental uphill ride to Black Mountain, or evn worse, it was going to be a lung busting mental bike hike to Black Mountain.
I was shattered when I finally reached Black Mountain, but at least I now knew that it was practicilly all downhill… that is how it should be, but like a real PLONKER!! I screamed down passed Pressley Gap, ( walked) up Hickory Knob, and then I noticed that I had lost my sun glasses somewhere between Black Mountain and Hickory Knob. I thought about going back, but the thought of climbing all the way back up to Black Mountain really did not appeal to me. The sun glasses are only worth 10 bucks, but they were given to me as a present, and had sentimental value, so, I turned around, screamed down Hickory knob, praying I would find the sunnies before I reached Presley Gap… No such luck, so I ended up walking all the way back up to just past the junction with “Turkey Pen Gap Trail” just for a cheap pair of sunnies..
But there is always a bright side to every story, and within 4 days I was about to make my 3rd descent of Black Mountain.( 2 days later I did it again for the 4th time in one week)
The downhill section went really well, and I am mastering the Queen of Downhills pretty well, and pretty fast, although there are one or two sections that I will probably never get to ride, without my permission, my bike stops and I have no choice but to walk them..
I must admit though, Black Mountain grows on you!!.. Fast!!

>> Stats <<

Ride : Club Gap onto Black Mountain
Total time : about 4 hours ( took me 5, but that was an hours walk for my sunnies)
Traffic on Trail : No one at all
Wild Life : A Black bear
Scenery : Not much at all, One nice open spot for a photo. But I can imagine that this trail is very scenic during the fall and winter when the trees have lost their leaves.
Other : Fantastic rock bivvy for riders that get caught on the trail about 10 min from Black Mountain towards Buckhorn

My Trail Rating :  7 / 10

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