submitted by Iva Gillet
After several weeks of snow, the planned hike to Keith Argow's cabin on Flattop Mountain had to be altered since he was unable to access the cabin and 4WD vehicle to get there. Hence, I resorted to my inaugural soup hike route, along the gravel roads of Flattop Mountain. Traveling clockwise, we walked the muddy, flat road along the Lynch River before ascending toward Simmons Gap. Our group of 14 consisted of: Brad Young, Pete and Bev Fink, Sunny Choi, Anne Colgate, Leon Gorman, Susanna Williams, Karen Ramsey, Carlos Espinoza, CJ Woodburn, David Crowe, Michael Seth, and Clai Lange. The 2.5 mile ascent allowed folks to hike at their own pace, with no chance of getting lost. While there were some steeper sections along Shifflett Road with icy patches, generally the roads were in great shape, despite the recent snowfall. We gathered at the pinnacle of today's hike, after an 1700 foot climb, and admired the view while we enjoyed a snack. Brad and Susanna charged ahead, leading us past Stone Mountain Winery, across Wyatt Mountain and in pursuit of soup. We finished the 8 mile loop in about 3 1/2 hours, and then returned to Briarleigh Farm for chili, chicken chili and beef stew that Bill Holman had been preparing for days, and that was piping hot upon our arrival. We enjoyed plenty of bread and soup, along with cheese, crackers, coffee cake and mints that hikers had provided. With the proposed route to be hiked another day, we enjoyed each others good company and great food.