Appalachian Trail -GSMNP:: JULY2014

Appalachian Trail -GSMNP | JULY2014

TOTAL MILEAGE 18 miles 

Day 1 | 3 July 2014

My hiking buddy, Marcus Handy and I decided to take in some AT fun via a start from Cades Cove in the Great Smoky Mountain National Park.  The night before, we decide to stay at the Abrams Creek campground being an easy find with daylight on all of the twisty turns…or so I thought.  We arrive welllllll after dark and miss turn after turn.  I believe we are about to have slept in the car on the side of the road when I decided to give it a try again to find the secluded road to the primitive campground.  Bingo!!!!  I find it and we drive in to park our car and hike the mile or so to our reserved campsite. Of course we hike in with our headlamps donned all the while Marco is worried about jumping a bear.  We make it without any issue to set up camp in the dark with a small glow off from a even smaller fire.

DAY2 | 4 July 2014

We wake early in order to break camp and get on the road to Cades Cove for the hike.  What seemed like a longer than 1 mile hike in the dark was in reality a very short and easy hike.  We made great time back to the car.

We make it back to the car and get on the Foothills Parkway toward Gatlinburg.

We arrive in Cades Cove to park the car and begin our hike up to Ole Rocky Top on the Appalachian Trail.  On the way up, I comment that Marco is plain ole “easy-go-it!”  I told him, I think his trail name should be “Easy-Go-It-Marco…”  he doesn’t say anything, so I bequeath him with that name from now on.  I out pace him up the mountain and to my surprise, I run into a bear on the trail. He wanted to be left alone so he could find more wild cherries as they were in season.

After seeing the bear, I continue up to the AT and decided to wait at the junction on “Easy-Go-It-Marco!”

He eventually makes it up and after telling him about the bear, he seemed a little disappointed to not see it.

While sitting there, I became chilled.  Huh…chilled on July the 4th…how nice!

After lunch, we head north on the AT up to Ole Rocky Top.

 

After some time on the bald, we reverse course and head south on the AT to drop down the trail from Russell Field Shelter.  Before getting there, we decide to go to Spence field Shelter to re-up on water from the spring.  While Marco napped, I went down to the spring behind the shelter to find a Timber rattler.   After filling my reservoir, I make my way back up the hill to the shelter to hear Marco sawing logs.  When I wake him I ask if he has any desire to go see the rattler, and he says “no way!”  We get back on the AT and make our way to the July 4th’s campsite with plenty of sunlight left.

We find ourselves sharing the camp area with 2 other groups all coming in after us.  So that meant we had choice spots for our camp.

We get there early enough to read, nap, eat, and collect scarce firewood for a small campfire.  The fire puts off a smoke with the sun shinning through the leaves which produces a wonderful picture.

As the darkness draws in we can hear the distant booms of fireworks going off to celebrate our nation Independence Day.  GOD Bless America!

The 4th of July offers a very cool night. So much that I got very chilled hanging in my Exped Ergo Combi hammock.  Once again, chilly in July…who would’ve thought it possible in the Southeast.  To that contrary, Marco and I were both cooled into the night and until the morning making us question whether or not we had brought enough clothing.

 

DAY 3 |  5 JULY 2014

Today, our goal is to make it back down to the car to drive home.  We do without any problem.

the trip was a good one…the traffic on the other hand heading back to Birmingham was bumper to bumper making for a slow return home.

It was good being back on the AT even though for only a brief stent.

AT…, we will return!

Until next time…,

JBEN

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