Blue Ridge Expeditions: Fisher Peak

Fisher Peak Hike

November 23, 2013

Text is Roald Kirby's account, and he is pictured above.

"The hike went well, despite cool,brisk conditions. We had a total of 11, counting Aubrey [Arrington] and me. Lana and Don [Call], Susan and Claire [Gleason], Tom and Melissa,Carol [Broderson], Ellie Kirby and Gary Wilson from Galax.

We began a gradual climb on the trail through woodland cove popular-pine forest and soon picked up the Fisher Peak road which we followed the rest of the way. According to Aubrey,it was originally built by the City of Galax in the 1930's so people attending the Rhododendron Festival could drive to the mountain.It is now used to access the WBRF radio towers.

Pileated Woodpecker evidence was observed, as were the evergreen leaves of Rattlesnake Plantain. The flowers of Witch Hazel brought on  discussions of function and folklore. As we progressed, the forest became mixed hardwood(oaks predominating) with an understory of mountain laurel and rhododendron(both rosebay and catawba)which continued to the top.We found ourselves on the windy brink of a large gneiss outcrop with a couple of small Table Mountain pines where we looked down on soaring ravens with Pilot Mtn and the Saurtowns in the distance.I had been told that there were magnetite crystals here and

sure enough, we found a bunch(with the aid of magnets, of course!).The whole ones were eight-sided and about 1/16" in size.

  After a quick and cool lunch everyone was ready to head back down.The hike(which was supposedly 8 miles but felt more like six to me) took 4.3 hours.Had the temperatures been warmer, we would have spent more time.Everyone seemed to enjoy themselves. Gary,a boy scout leader,said that he couldn't wait to get out and show people what he had learned!"

A special thanks goes to Aubrey for sharing his expertise on the walk, and Lana Call for all the photos.

Scott Jackson-Ricketts