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I haven’t had time for longer trips so far this spring but here are two snippets to share.
I’ll start with a really great day hike.
This was a purely athletic endeavor; I could have run in my neighborhood or the like but opted for exercise with a view.
I fast hiked 18 miles in about four hours. The route included about 3000 feet of gain over the first 5 miles so it did get the blood flowing! I started from the Cosby Campground in the GSMNP on a Saturday morning.
Only a mile on the Snake Den Ridge trail and I’m sweating already.
A little view popped up as the elevation changed.
I do believe a varmint was in that hole so I kept moving.
Snow was still clinging to the mountain in the shady spots.
After leaving Snake Den I came to Maddron Bald (not really a bald but a heath and rhodo growth area).
This was the beautiful little waterfall at the Ottercreek campsite.
I love fern moss.
A look back....
The Maddron Bald trail has several crossings that require you to deboot or hike with soggy feet. I chose to deboot (er, de-trail shoe as it were).
Here was the next. Someone put a little cable across to help.
And here was another crossing where I met my first humans of the day. The pair on the right had those nifty water shoes. The other two went barefoot like me.
Here is a wonderful little cove up the mountain in Albright Grove (about 100 yards off the grove loop trail).
This tree was popping green!
This campsite is quite nostalgic. It was my first solo backcountry campsite from many years ago and its named Sugar Cove. A bear circled me for what seemed like an eternity that night and traumatized me such that I went home the next morning with my tail between my legs even though I had planned a three day trip. Ah the memories…..
This is the view from that campsite.
And I’ll end this section with an upshot of Hen Wallow falls.
The next trip was from last weekend (4-19-2013 and 4-20-2013) and I had one night to use. So I left after work on a Friday and drove the 1 hour and forty minutes from Knoxville to Newfound Gap.
I started hiking North on the Appalachian Trail about 6PM on a cloudy evening. I had reservations for the Icewater Spring Shelter but when I got there the shelter was full to capacity and there wasn’t even a tent spot to be had.
So I bailed and went on to an undisclosed location to camp for the evening. The previous days rains had caused many thru hikers to hole up in the shelters. I don’t blame them but my little short trips are usually more about getting away than socializing. I’m not going to show any revealing pictures of my private camp.
This picture doesn’t reveal anything about my location; it’s nice to be able to go back to my alcohol stove for the warmer season. Though as the night went on it did get well below freezing.
The next morning I was exploring off trail from the Dry Sluice Gap area.
I do bring my wife along you know. Her paper likeness wraps my extra camera battery. She drew this for me a long time ago as a joke but I really do carry it.
The lines of this scene caught my eye on Dry Sluice Gap Trail.
Anywhere the mountain blocked the sun was white with ice and frost. I started out only in fleece but had to put on my goretex rain jacket to stop that biting wind.
The temps stayed in the low twenties that morning which would be tolerable except for the wind.
I like the contrast of the green grass with the ice covered trees on the narrow ridge top.
Man I love these mountains.
This was looking south in to NC on my way to Bradley’s View.
I wanted to find two things on this trip: the old abandoned False Gap shelter and the upper end of the Porters manway that connects campsite 31 to the AT.
After some searching, I found the shelter! It was about a quarter mile off the main trail and a faint old path descended the mountain on eroded switchbacks.
And about 40 yards behind it was this nice spring. Yep, I drank freely.
Here is my Trailspace hat shot while perched on a high overlook above the Porters Creek drainage.
Here was a nice view as I approached the Bunion of Charles.
I’ll end with this shot taken from my vantage of the high rocks that I scrambled up above said bunion.
Happy Trails my fellow outdoor enthusiasts!