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I promised my youngest sister I would take her backpacking, so I decided on taking her on an easy introductory trip. Since it would be her first time Backpacking, I decided on taking the Mud Gap Trail out to Whigg Meadow.
Here we are at the Trail Head
Mud Gap sits right on the TN/NC border, off the Cherohala Skyway, at about 4,500ft, and the trail climbs around 600ft in 1.75 miles to the Whigg. We got off to a really late start, around 7pm. About half a mile up the trail, a violent thunderstorm assaulted the mountain, causing us to stop until it passed. We finally reached the meadow as the clouds broke and scattered, leaving the last glow of dusk to help us pitch camp.
Our Tent, a Eureka Pinnacle Pass 3XT, in the morning fog. It looks much gloomier in this photo than it actually was. The cloud-mist was glowing with the rising sun.
We got a bit of a late start, since we had slogged through the rain and set up camp so late in the night. But we had a wonderful breakfast of Sausage and Eggs, which we cooked over my home made pressurized alcohol stoves. Here is a video of us cooking over them:
There was an abundance of ripe, fresh, wild blueberries all around the meadow, which we took out time enjoying!
The highbush blueberries grow prodigiously on just about all of the grassy balds in the region. Here is Anna Picking some.
After breakfast and cleanup, we headed down to the pond that sits down between the meadow and the south arm of Little Haw Knob. At the Head of the Pond there are a couple springs that feed it where water can be obtained. The springs are very clean and sweet tasting. We filtered water into all of our bottles and relaxed in the cool fragrant shade for a little while.
The day cleared off bright and rather warm, though mercifully it is still cool at 75 compared to 95 in the valley.
For the afternoon we took a day hike down part of the Sycamore Creek Trail section of the BMT. We ventured off trail for about two miles, where we stopped for a late lunch and found this little guy hiding in a Turks Cap Lily
The Turks Caps were everywhere, along with Jewel Weed, Trillium, and blue, red, white, purple, & pink Bee Balm.
We arrived back at camp on the Whigg a little before the golden hour, and returned to the pond fill up on water and enjoy the cool of the day.
Just ever so peacful and lovely
The evening was just beautiful, with a cool breeze and clear skies.
On Sunday morning we fixed oatmeal on our alc stoves, along with the freshest, most delicious blueberries imaginable. After That we packed up before going on another day hike up to the summit of Haw Knob. There is an old road/rail bed, but most of it is completely overgrown with brambles and scrub thickets, as well as the most incredibly dense laurel thicket near the top that I have ever seen. Down a little bit from the crest of the ridgeline, on the SW side, it is quite lovely and open. The trees are almost all elevation stunted Beech, providing even open shade. Under the trees it is quite idyllic, with expansive carpets of forest grass and moss, dotted about with blueberry bushes and lichen covered boulders.
We stopped here on the side of the mountain to eat lunch and relaxe for a bit.
In the video you can just barely make out the sound of some ravens in the background. There is a pair of them that lives in the forest off the southwest side of the meadow.
After We had lunch we headed on down the mountain and out to Mud Gap and our car.
I have also posted our rout details and additional info on Google Maps. if you want to take a look at them, the map is located Here: