19E to Hump & Little Hump Mountains 

December 2nd - I set out heading south on the Appalachian Trail at Highway 19E at 8:05 a.m.  This hike was to complete a 7.1-mile section of trail (14.2 miles round-trip) that I had not yet done from the highway to Little Hump Mountain, while also crossing the summit of Hump Mountain.


The first 2.5 miles of this hike was pretty uneventful as I climbed steadily through numerous hollows and ridges in the forest.  After about 1200 feet elevation gain I finally reached some nice overlooks at 4000'.  There were also many rock overhangs, ledges, and rock steps that made this climb more interesting at this point.


Eventually I reached Doll Flats, which is a very nice campsite with a good spring.  It also has wonderful views into North Carolina from a grass ridge just adjacent to the campsite. 


(Click all images for larger photos)

One of Many Interesting Rock Overhangs on the Ascent

Narrow "Staircase" at About 4300'

Doll Flats... Nice Campsite at 4560' With Beautiful Views

From Dolls Flats the trail turned to the east for a straight, long uphill section on the north face of Hump Mountain.  This area was slow going as the trail was nothing but rock and boulders for a mile or more, along with being more wet and slippery on the north side of the mountain.  But eventually, the trail turned to the south again where I crossed a stile that was the gateway to the completely grass covered Houston Ridge.  It was still early morning and the wind was howling on this ridge making it very chilly at times, but the views here were incredible.


After a long final ascent up this ridge I reached the summit of Hump Mountain... elevation 5587 feet.  This summit offered 360 degrees views that were awesome, but I didn't stay too long because the wind was really brutal.  At one point I set my gloves on the ground to take some photos, and it blew them 30 yards before I finally caught up to them.        



Looking Back at the Stile that is the Corridor to Houston Ridge

Pretty Views from Houston Ridge

Plaque in Honor of Stan Murray Near the Hump Mountain Summit

Fantastic Views Near the Summit of Hump Mountain Bill Near the Summit of Hump Mountain A View of Roan Mountain from the Summit of Hump Mountain

From Hump Mountain, I began descending down to Bradley Gap (elevation 4960').  This is the gap that separates the two "humps", and once I dropped down into this area the wind subsided making it much more enjoyable.  The views from this grass covered gap were fantastic as well.  


After the gap I began climbing again, and at noon I made the summit of Little Hump Mountain (elevation 5459').  My GPS showed that I'd traveled 7.1 miles exactly.  This was my destination as I had been to this summit from the opposite side last month (see here).  This also completed a 117 mile section of the A.T. for me from Watauga Dam Road to Devil's Fork Gap.


I took a few photos and turned around to head back.  I soon did the "double traverse" on Hump Mountain by climbing it for the second time in the same day from opposite sides.  This time on the summit the winds had let up a great deal so I took some more photos and enjoyed it more.  From there I worked my way back down Houston Ridge where I found a nice rock outcropping to get out of the wind.  I ate some lunch, and called Shannon to check in before making my way back down to the car. 


I arrived at my car at 3:05 p.m., averaging 2.0 miles per hour on this 14.2-mile hike.  Upon completion, I'd also done over 4000 feet of total elevation gain.  I'll sleep good tonight.      


Bill on the Summit of Litte Hump Mountain (Elevation 5459')

A View of Hump from Little Hump... It Doesn't Look Far, But It's 1.75 Miles & a Beast of a Climb  Near Bradley Gap... The Gap Between the Two "Humps"

Stunning Views from Bradley Gap

Bill On the Summit of Hump Mountain for the Second Time (Elevation 5587')  Looking Down Houston Ridge Before I Make My Descent Off of Hump Mtn.
Enjoying the Views from a Rock Outcropping On Houston Ridge Huddled Behind a Rock to Eat Lunch and Stay Out of the Wind Before Making My Long Descent   Ankle Twisters... There's a Continuous Mile of Trail Like This in a Section Between Houston Ridge and Doll Flats
  My Route... Overlaid on Google Earth