|Hike Name:||Art Loeb Trail|
|Trip Date:||November 4, 2011|
|Trail Conditions:||Fair to Good|
|Trip Weather:||Sunny, Cloudy, Fog|
|Trip Precipitation:||Rain, Sleet, Snow|
|Trip Temperature:||High: 51-60, Low: 31-40 degrees Fahrenheit|
|Trip Report:||Who was Art Loeb? Arthur J. Loeb was born into a Jewish-German family in Philadelphia in 1914. After serving time in the military during World War II; Art and his wife moved to Brevard to work for his cousin, founder of the Ecusta Paper Mill, Harry Strauss. Harry Strauss, originally from Germany, had found success making fine paper suitable for Bibles and cigarettes out of flax. Art eventually worked his was up to General Manager. In his 40's, he suffered a heart attack and his doctor recommended that he walk as a form of rehabilitation. He began with short walks around his home at what is now Strauss Park and gradually expanded into the mountains. Before long he was bushwhacking to the top on mountains and continually getting lost in the wilderness. Art joined the Carolina Mountain Club where he was surrounded by a group of passionate hikers. Not only was he a great addition to the CMC, but the club also benefited from his business skills. He cared deeply for the mountains in Pisgah National Forest and devoted much time there. At the age of 54, he was diagnosed with a brain tumor. Almost immediately after his passing the club worked hard to develop a memorial. The result was a memorial trail that crossed the mountains that Art loved and often explored.
We had the opportunity to do the trail in three days and jumped on it. The trail was challenging, the beauty was stunning, and it was worth every step. We started at the north end by Daniel Boone Boy Scout Camp near Cold Mountain and ended on the Davidson River near the entrance to Pisgah Forest. We dealt with unexpected snow, wet feet, frozen shoes, 30 to 40 mph winds, elevations up to 6200', scarce water, aggressive mice, several falls and rolled ankles from hidden rocks under leaves. But that had nothing on the scenery we encountered along the way and the company of friends. We had so many beautiful sights along the way: The sun breaking through the clouds and highlighting evergreens in the snow covered forest, Small Quartz boulders at Shining Rock (we missed the spur to the cluster of large boulders), our first view of the mountains from Flower Gap, 360 degree views from Tennent Mountain and Black Balsam Knob, views of Looking Glass Rock and SC mountains from Pilot Mountain, the remaining fall colors, camping below Cedar Rock, views of Pisgah and Brevard from Chestnut Knob, and finishing on the Davidson River just to name a few.
It's easy to understand why Art Loeb cared so much about these mountains. At times I felt right at home, at other times I felt as if I were walking a land far away, and every step lead to something beautiful; a revelation, an appreciation for God, joyous laughter, inner strength, solitude, willpower, and accomplishment.