There’s a saying that if you’re backpacking and you don’t like the forecast, wait five minutes and it’ll change. That was certainly the case on a recent backpacking trip I took to the Shining Rock Wilderness with my brother-in-law, Ken. In the 10 days leading up to the trip we watched the wilderness area forecast change daily from hot to cold, sun to rain, and breezy to gale force winds.
In addition to the weather the Shining Rock Wilderness has a couple of rules that impacted our trip. First, no campfires. It’s a rule, and unfortunately many take it as a “rule” including the ones responsible for the recent fire at Cold Mountain that burned 132 acres. Second, in the past few years the bear population has increased resulting in greater than normal bear sightings and bear encounters (one backpacker had a bear enter his tent and remove his backpack). As a result, the U.S. Forest Service requires bear canisters in the Shining Rock Wilderness.