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Seven Days in the Smokies

It's been a long time since I have posted, I will start with a trip report from 2019.  My brother, who lives in Oak Ridge, prevailed upon me to leave the Sierra and spend a week in the Smokies.  Our itinerary was:

Day 1  Fontana to Mollie's Ridge

Day 2  Mollie's Ridge to Derrick Knob

Day 3  Derrick Knob to Mt Collins

Day 4  Mt Collins to Mt Leconte

Day 5  Mt LeConte to Peck's Corner

Day 6  Peck's Corner to Cosby Knob

Day 7  Cosby Knob to exit at Davenport

From the start it was obviously a very different environment than what I am used to.  A lot of green, a lot of trees.

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 I got my first exposure to the shelters at Mollie's Ridge.  On the plus side, it meant that I didn't need to carry a tent.  On the negative side, too often we had snorers and smokers.

 

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I also got to see my first rhododendron tunnel.
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 From there we continued on the AT.  For the next few days it was cloudy with rain, so the few open views were socked in.

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 We eventually got to the part of the route that my brother had told me about - the spruce/fir forest.  He had frequently mentioned the smell of this forest, and I always thought it was a typical confer scent like we have in the Sierra.  But instead, it was a very pleasant scent that is hard to describe, and I can see why he wants to go back regularly.  And did I mention green?

 

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 We did get a few views along the way.

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 One thing that the lack of steady views led to was a closer examination of the immediate surroundings along the trail, with all the color and texture.  Quite different from the Sierra.

 

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We took the side trip to the Jumpoff

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 Then on to Mt LeConte, which was my favorite part of the trip.

 

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 Some views from LeConte

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 Another thing that was different from me was the hanging cables for packs and food.  I am used to carrying a bear canister in the Sierra, this is a very different way to solve the bear problem.

 

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Then on the way, with the obligatory pictures at Charlie's Bunion

 

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More views from the final days.  Walking on the ridge tops instead of in the canyon bottoms was also very different for me.  And it led to fewer choices for water sources.

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 Did I mention that it was green?

On the last day we took the small side trip to Mt Cammerer

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 And then the return to the hardwood forest told me that the trip was just about done.

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 I found the trip to be very enjoyable, despite the mileage and vertical each day.  I am trying to work out a return trip to the Smokies soon.

You do realize, John, your pictures will be the reason the 2022 camping season will be so crowded in the Smokies.  This is one of the finest collections of images of the Smokies I have seen.  Thanks.

Ed

It is beautiful country.  I grew up backpacking a little further north in the Blue Ridge Mountains.  Avoiding people takes some skill.  I like the fall best to get away from the heat and humidity.   Rain was a challenge at times, but finding water was easy.   There is no doubt there is plenty of up and down in the Appalachians.  One man's syncline, is another man's anticline. 

Thanks for taking the time to upload so many great pics! I'm in the midst of planning snowy mountain trips, but these are very inspirational as far as looking forward to Spring :)

May 22, 2022
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