Back from the woods.

Hope to have pics soon. Have to wait for Meg to send them, as I forgot my camera!

It was a fairly easy hike, but the last mile whipped my butt. We started at the Cosby campground in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. Lower Mount Cammerer Trail. A shallow climb for a bit and then about a mile of 500′ of climb. Followed by about a mile of flat. Flat is rare in the Smokies. This led us to campsite 35. Oh, but during the climb, we took a side spur up a steep trail to Sutton Ridge Overlook. What a beautiful place!

(Sutton Ridge Overlook with my camera phone)

The campsite is also a horse camp. And it’s overused. That being said, it was actually set up quite nice. Easy to get water and a perfect spot to dig catholes! We chilled for a long time. Nice and peaceful. Ended up reading for a bit and talking at the campfire.

So, that night we turned in. We had each brought our own tents. I ended up reading for a bit more. Easy reading, as that was all I could handle. Jimmy Buffett. I finally tired, so I turned off my headlamp and settled in. It was nice, as the stream was very close.

I will post this disclaimer. I have a very active imagination, so take that into consideration. Do you ever get the feeling that something is very close to you? A sixth sense of sorts? Well I did. I swear that something was just on the other side of my tent, the side opposite of where Meg’s tent was. I can’t really describe what I felt or heard, but I yelled to Meg. She hadn’t heard anything and unzipped her tent. Nothing. I ended up sleeping in her tent the rest of the night!

So, the next morning, I looked around my tent. I saw no evidence of anything. Keeping in mind the area was super hard packed dirt.

So, we took our time packing, eating breakfast, all that and took off for the rest of the trip. We were heading out the rest of this trail that would meet up with the Appalachian Trail. We would have about 3 miles of climbing, the last half mile being the steepest part. Then another mile of mostly flat until we hit the AT. By the way, just outside of camp on the trail we found a big cat print. Hmm?

We did see some cool stuff along the way. We found the old manway up to Mt Cammerer firetower. And it extends down to highway 32. Another day. And we found an old cemetary on top of a hill. I have to say, I can’t think of a better place to be buried. We saw a red frog, a strange buzzing bug with a long probiscuss. That may not be the right word. But it was huge compared to the bug’s body. All kinds of plant life, including a blooming Indian Pipe. I love these. They’re a plant that has absolutely no chlorophyl in them, so they are completely white-ish.

(AT and Lower Mt Cammerer junction. Can you tell that I’m tired? Camera phone pic)

We made it to the AT. We would have 2-3 miles of downhill. Here is where my personal hell begins. I think that I’d rather climb than descend. It kills my already bad knees, bad heel and generally out of shape legs. Or, uses muscles in my legs I don’t use much. The first mile takes us to a junction with Chestnut Branch Trail. A trail usually filled with snakes, which means I will never do that one in the warm weather! This mile I actually cruised down pretty fast. Well, fast for me. The next 1-2 miles was the pure hell part.

Why do I say 1-2 miles? The Nat Geo map is confusing. And now consulting the Park Association map, I’m even more confused! The NG map leads you to believe the bit from Chestnut Branch to a point outside of the Park is 1.9 miles. The Park map shows the 1.9 as ending at the Park boundary. As this was pure torture, I’m going with the 1.9. Hey, it makes me feel better at how much time it took to get there! And to make it worse, they put logs in the trail for erosion control. These make pretty little steps way too often that make me have to put a ton of force on each leg/foot hitting the ground off of it. This is why I carry hiking poles, to ease the force.

We did have a side stop at Davenport Shelter. I have actually never been to a shelter before. This is one of I think three left in the Park with the chain link fence on the front of it. Yes, to keep the bears away. BTW, the shelters with the fences still up are the ones with the worst bear problems of any shelter. And Davenport is also known as a local party shelter.

Once we hit the end of the trail, Highway 32, we called Barrett for a pick up. A thru hiker also popped out, one I had seen a couple of days ago at the Hiker, and we took him the Standing Bear Farm. Then, we headed into Hartford to the Bean Tree Cafe for some food.

I had a really good time:)


2 Responses

  1. Glad you made it back safely and didn’t end up bear (or mountain lion?) tucker.

  2. Me, too! Not too worried about bears;)

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: