This ride was way harder than I thought it would be. I had no idea that Musterground/Auger Hole/Chestnut mountain roads would be so difficult. I must have hike-a-biked like 6-8 miles out of the 20 or so. So much of it was super technical with washouts and loose babyheads everywhere and super steep that It would have been unclimbable even if I was on the mountain bike with the smallest chainring I own, even if I was completely fresh. I brought my stiff shoes thinking I would need the extra efficiency and didn't think there would be this much hiking on the route.
Brought a can of Cheerwine along and tried to take it out of my pocket while near Lake Jocassee, about to filter some water from a stream, and it slipped from my hands and burst open instantly after hitting a rock on the ground. Such a waste. I was concerned that my freehub was cracked because it was making all kinds of rattling noises on downhills, after a long while of pondering I remembered that I had forgotten to transfer the 1mm spacer over from my mountain bike when I switched the cassette. It's an 11 speed hub and a 10 speed cassette. So no damage, it just made shifting poor and I had to shift into one of my three easiest cogs for descending so it wouldn't rattle.
I tried in vain to bushwack to the Round mountain road leading across to hwy 107, but I never did find it and it was getting really late so I had to turn around and come back down the hiking trail back to 281, divert on pavement through SC to get back to Bull Pen in NC, and then I just went directly up to Highlands, bypassing Walkingstick and Rich gap, cause I had nothing left and the sun was just before setting.
I liked most of the route. The section of Auger Hole road was nearly impassable because they were doing major maintenance on it for erosion control(i.e. adding water bars) and it was all soft clay with no gravel over it. It would be fine if there was gravel and it was packed down. And if the rest of it were traveled more it would be easier. Might be better to go right after they close the road after the two hunting seasons. And I would still love to find another alternate to SC 413 to get between 281 and 107, but there isn't many options. -- View in full at http://ridewithgps.com/trips/26563327