The trouble with a sweet spot that is not so legal is that you run the chance of rousing suspicion of a local if you stay too long. After 3-4 nights in this really nice spot I was rousted by the USFS Ranger. It was actually pretty funny because I was doing nothing illegal and had nothing illegal in the truck or no my person. The only REAL thing I had done wrong was park in front of a gate to a grown over FS road that dead ended (I know because I hiked it to make sure.)
The USFS Ranger was HIGHLY suspicious. Apparently a local. I'll call him Hoyt (this was the sticker in this dudes truck window) Saw me hanging out in this spot during a down pour of rain. I suppose he thought I was doing something illegal since I am tattooed up and have a fabulous beard. I had gotten up early that morning and rode Bennett's Gap. Which let me say is a hoot on the sections I did ride the rest was big hit bike dare devil shit I'd only attempt if there was a trauma team on stand by and a rescue chopper flying over head.
The climb back up to the truck was a small challenge but not a total lung or leg buster. I washed off ate a late b-feast and swilled the beer left over in my growler (Backwoods Blonde). All done before 11am (and on a sunday morning...oh my!) which was when the bottom dropped out and it rained like hell for about an hour. During that time "Hoyt" drove by in his pick up truck not once but twice both times I smiled big and waved as I do with most folks out in the back woods. "Hoyt" slowed WAY down the second time and gave me the stink eye. About an hour later the ranger shows up.
Now I don't care I had already bathed and brushed my teeth. I was sitting in the drivers side of the truck with the engine running to charge some electronics and so the battery won't die on the truck. Besides it's been on and off raining so i'm not making the effort to sit at or on the tailgate and eat.
The Ranger was nice but naturally a bit suspicious. He was sniffing all around the truck and I was honest with him. I was hanging out staying out of the rain. It was a good spot, I had ridden Bennett's gap and just wanted to enjoy the day out in the woods. I gave him my ID and told him I had been all over WNC the last few days camping here and there. Mountain Biking and Hiking and enjoying the area. Now I did not tell him I had been in this same spot for the last few days. He asked me if I was cultivating natural products which got a big laugh out of me because I had never dreamed of such a thing. He also asked me if I planned on setting up residence there in the area.
Interesting question that. I had noticed at least 4-5 other sites that were semi-perm in the area. The rules are you can spend 14 days in a site in a particular area then move on. Never leaving your gear for more than 24 hours. Understandable. I have seen and heard about a lot of climbers and semi-perm outdoorsy types bending and outright breaking this rule. Meh to each their own. I was (and still am) considering this very thing because of certain family tensions.
I laughed and told him no again and offered to move on ASAP because truly I did not want any trouble. The Ranger says move on when you're ready but I should b/c of access issues with the gate (which again blocks a overgrown road that dead ends) I said alright and wished him well and to have a safe day. I gave him 10 minutes then loaded the bike and split.
The Ranger was looking for something highly illegal. The worst I was doing was "camping" in a illegal site blocking an access gate. I would have gotten a ticket at the worst. I was just glad he did not catch me doing the shower in the rain earlier. That would have been hard to explain.
I saw "Hoyt" on the way out and smailed and waved real big to him. My feeling was that I was in a spot he wanted to be in he was prob a poacher or a small marijuana patch cultivator freaked out that I was there and used the ranger (smartly I must add) to move me away.
I did not mind because it led me to a better site YG 13 over on another FS road several miles down the road. There I stayed another couple of nights and split for the ATL this morning I was back in the 404 area code by noon.
I was going to ride Dupont this morning and my arm was giving me probs when I got up and decided against it. I got in 3 rides and a few hikes so I am happy. I REALLY don't want nor need more right arm probs. Frankly I am relieved that my arm lasted 10 days on the road sleeping in the back of the truck with hardly any pain.
The trip for June is over. I got work on Thursday and Friday then I have to start studying for my summer class final at the end of the month. The good news is that I HAVE to go back up to WNC in a few weeks for a CE EMT class and it just so happens that the day the class ends is when "The Burning Can" revs up in Brevard, NC.
I'm going to try to talk a buddy of mine into going cause he LOVES Oskar Blues (and what's not to like?) we'll see. That's about it for the trip. Stay tuned more to come. Thanks for reading.