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I was very fortune to get some unexpected time off from work and used it for a week of backpacking in my nearby mountains.
Here is a small representation of the Thanksgiving trip:
I started from Clingmans Dome Road in a dense fog and temps in the low forties (F).
Some tasty rock tripe....
This was a neat shot; the fog seemed to follow some strange thermal line here on Welch Ridge.
The trips first wet crossing was Hazel Creek.
Good grief that was the heaviest pack I've gone out with in years. I took a lot of comfort items.
I really like this vantage of Hazel Creek. The eroded rocks are very cool.
This was another nice spot to relax for a while.
Exploring the displaced town of Proctor, I found this old factory.
This is Ollie Cove and a nice place to pull up by boat.
I don't do many fires but the abundance of low water driftwood was too tempting and it was glorious to dry out those shoes and socks.
Here on Day 3 was the first sunshine of the trip.
The Lakeshore trail has many views like this of course.
This was from a place called High Rocks but the wind was so bitter that I could only stand to be up there for a few moments. I will come back in better weather and enjoy that chair.
I puzzled mightily over this Jonas Creek oddity; finally realized it is a memorial to a dead horse. In the south, makers are put on the interstate where loved ones die in auto accidents. This is the equestrian equivalent I guess.
At one of my camps I found this bow drill set. Look like they made fire too. I just use a lighter, heh heh.
This was a nice camp spot and it's where I made my "stand" for a 30 something hour rain storm. My usual trips are short and I never pull zero days. I always thought it would be a luxury to pull a zero and sit out bad weather. I must admit it was hard to stay tent bound for that long. I got tired of reading and such I need to work on being at peace I guess.
During that long rain the river rose several feet and was starting to freak me out a little.
Here we have the Tunnel at the end of the road to nowhere. It's about 1000 feet long. I had thoughts of stopping for lunch there thinking it would be good shelter from the snow flurries. Then I saw all the graffiti inside and imagined scores of drunken teenagers pissing on the walls and decided to keep going. lol
Detouring to complete the "beginning" of Noland Creek I kept looking at the raging torrent knowing that I had to cross it un-bridged twice on my route (albeit 10 miles further upstream)
This was a really nice camp with picnic tables above Noland Creek. The pic doesn't show it but there is a small stream to the left that flows the length of the camp.
Ode to Gonzan: Hemlock Tea!
Cheers! And it still tastes like Christmas!
Snow all night is all right.
Here is a neat old chimney on Spring House Branch.
Just a nice pic.
The low temps make you thankful for these footlogs, snow covered or not.
Here was the first dreaded Noland crossing. Not so bad really.
And shortly after the second. It was too deep in the cold.
So deep in fact, I had to go nekked from the waist down to keep my shorts dry.
I arrived back at my car to find in slight drift on a ice covered road.
There was a frozen note in my door from the Park Service. They had closed the road early for the season due to ice and warned that if Newfound Gap was closed I should call 911. However they also noted that they left the lock open and if I should make it out to please lock the gate behind me.
Here is a nice sunset shot as I paused my first gear crawl out the ice covered road.
And being a good steward, I locked the gate behind me for the season as I made it to the main road which was open.
This was a really good trip despite only a few sunny days. Not all of it was fun but overall it was deeply satisfying.
Happy Trails Friends!