Yellowstone Prong Shining Rock Wilderness--Went fishing again for some wild trout. I started this trip with a friend (Jack Smith) I met off the internet for fly fishing. My wife, son (5yrs old), me, and Jack started by going down the Mountain to sea trail a little past second falls and hiked down about 40 minutes or so and finally got to the bottom and got in and started fishing. I have never been to this section before so I had no idea what was really ahead. I read some stuff off the internet of trips down in this area and they didn't sound too bad so I decided to try it. We got on the water about 10:30 and started fishing. We were moving kind of slow since we had a big crowd (4 of us). We finally got up to a trail area off of Mile marker 417 on the Blue Ridge Parkway that leads down in where we were at. There is no other trail leading up the Gorge area so we all had to walk in the water the whole way up stream.
This was not my wisest choice because my wife didn't have good shoes on for doing this and she had to watch my son the whole trip who wants to be Mr. Adventurer. So with the question posed to everyone whether to head on or go back everyone said go ahead. So we did..........bad mistake!!! We moved way to slow to make it to the top, mainly because this gorge area is the worst you will ever experience in NC. The rocks are HUGE and it is VERY STEEP the whole way up this gorge area and the water was high and swift. Some areas are about impassable, and poor Jack isn't as young as he used to be and this trip is way too hard for most any normal human being with the condition the water was in. We got about half way and I looked at the time and realized we weren't going to make it out before dark so I did the dumb thing and got everyone out and headed up the face of a mountain gorge.....WITH NO TRAIL!!! We made our own trail and let me say it was NOT fun to say the least. We climbed for about 1 hour and 15 minutes just to go about 1/2. I had no idea where we were going except I knew from the map that the Blue Ridge Parkway runs right beside this stream the whole way. So I said lets just go up to our left. We started off and it was HELL and a long HELL too!!! It isn't a good feeling being lost. I knew we would run into the BRPW but didn't know how far it was and we already were in the creek climbing all day long and we were all tired and beat. I finally thought I heard a car but wasn't quite sure. Then Jack heard what he thought was a car but turned out to be a plane...made me think I heard a plane too but finally we all heard a car way off. So we headed towards the sound along the way I saw what looked to be bear scant....uh oh. So we climbed out finally about dead from exhaustion....except for my 5 year old boy who thought this was fun. We finally got to the top after the trip through the valley of HELL and after we beat our way through thick rhododendron slick rocks and inclines I don't want to think about ever again !!!. So I told everyone to walk up a little ways to the East Fork Overlook and stay there while I walked back to get the car. We finally got back about 6:15 PM and Jack had to drive all the way home after this which is about 3 1/2 hours away. All I can say is I hope when I am older I have half the stamina Jack had, Jack your the MAN!! He had no idea what he was getting himself into...neither did I..
Later that night me and my family were just driving around the BRPW and wanted to sit and look at the night sky so we stopped at the East Fork Overlook again. This time it was around 10PM and we decided to take off and head back to camp as I pulled out and drove to where we all came over the mountain earlier that day a black bear ran across the road going down into the woods where we walked up...so that bear scant I saw probably belonged to that bear.....be careful down there. If you go down in this area make sure you go early and go when the water isn't running so high. The water was killing us because you have to climb 50% of the time to get any where and the water was running so fast it was too hard to climb around needless to mention the 15 foot tall rocks you have to climb. If the water was slower I might do this area.........again I said MIGHT. Tuff area with too much climbing to fishing ratio for me. I went back the next day but stayed above Yellowstone Falls and caught fish all day. Much easier walking too.