hike report:Due to weather conditions on the scheduled date this hike was rescheduled for Sunday, April 10th. Five hikers enjoyed a beautiful sunny spring day with temps reaching into the 60's. The trails were in excellent conditions except for a few muddy sections. We started the hike at 10:50 am and after 8.9 mi returned at 4 pm. We had four wet stream crossings, a couple of which were partial rock hopping's. One hiker had her wet stream crossing "baptism" with nothing hurt but pride! We only meet 2 other hikers on the trail near the reservoir prior to the end of the hike. There were numerous bikers on the trails. We encountered the very unusual contact with two different groups (5-6) of bikers that stopped and waited to let us proceed without any interference on their part. In both instances they stated that they honored the trail guidelines as they relate to which group has the right of way -WOW, how often have we had that experience? Very refreshing, to say the least. Another great CMC hike!! Carroll
scout report:Bruce and I scouted this hike Fri. Apr. 1st. The trail overall is in very good condition. Due to the recent rainfalls the streams were flowing with a considerable amount of flow. We had three wet crossings and several rock hopping or with little depth that one can cross without getting more than the bottom inch or so of your boots wet. Depending on the rain conditions between now and Sat. Apr. 9th, that will determine the depth of the water level. Even if little or no rain falls you will need to be prepared for up to three wet crossings. This is a good hike with mostly gradual ascents. Carroll
hike report:It was a gorgeous, sunny day after the prior day's snowfall. We walked on a few inches of snow which was slightly deeper, but packed down from the thru-hikers once we got up on the ridge of the A.T. The view was beautiful, as usual, up on Firescald Knob. But, this time, it had the extra beauty of snow complementing the distant peaks. Coming back down, the snow had melted a great deal and the Trilliums were in bloom along with the Trout Lillies, Spring Beauties, and Dutchman's Breeches. Wonderful Appalachian Spring!
hike report:A wonderful, classic hike in the Smokies. Today the flowers were abundant, the weather was perfect and the group so congenial and social. What a wonderful day!
hike report:Great hike under full sun with 12 hikers. The AT was in great shape for this hike including the upper section we used for the climb up to the bald. One of our best views, of the bald in full sun was at the start and end of the hike from the old apple orchard field at the top of our first climb. In photo 1, the hike point is the bald. It was as far away as it looked. The long range view gave us a bit of encouragement, but it was well over 4 miles away at this point. But the view was spectacular. We found the AT a bit rocky in spots , but completely cleared. We encountered quite a few hikers going north on the AT, and there were a number of 'Trail Magic' stops we passed through on the way up and down the six mile trail to the top. But we chatted a bit but did not take any of the goods that were available for the AT hikers. We also met Tim Carrigan who maintains the member site and the AT section though the Bald on the trail. Photo 2 is our lunch break after the climb up Big Bald. Too tired to stand! One of our best but difficult 100 favorite hikes.
scout report:I learned that this is a popular biking trail. We saw multiple groups of bikers, including a team from Michigan. It wasn’t a problem, they shared the trail courteously. It is fairly steady uphill with the steepest section just prior to Clawhammer. The views hiking along the ridge were just beautiful. We can decide if we want to continue a little further on to Black Mountain. We clocked in 8 miles and just under 2200 feet. Thanks to Donna for scouting it with me.
hike report:We had a group of 8 on this beautiful spring day. The greening of the trees obscured some of the views enjoyed on the scout hike. The occasional breeze was welcome as we climbed under sunny skies. The first challenge was parking as the few spaces at the trail head were occupied. We parked on the road, hugging the narrow shoulder. There was a large group of hikers at the shelter who had spent the night. We also encountered bikers as expected. It was a good day to be in the woods.
hike report:Three hikers (myself inc.) set out on this hike in mixed sun and clouds. The anticipated bad weather was a no-show. We hike counterclockwise on this upside down lollipop hike. The Buckeye Trail is a pleasant walk on an old railroad grade until the trail diverges away from the grade and heads steeply down to it's meeting with the Haywood Gap Tr. There was a profusion of the usual wildflowers but also a hillside of ramps on the downhill section. Once on the Haywood Gap Trail we turned right (north) and lunched at the end near a cascade. The return trip along the Middle Prong of the East Fork of the Pigeon River was pleasant until the last third which climbs steeply to the parkway. We were greeted at the crest by open woods with May Apples and Trilliums.
scout report:We scouted this 5/4/22 and a couple of things have changed in a nice way. A replacement bridge near the start has been completed (as of Saturday!), which reopens that part of the trail. Also, the parking area which had been severely impacted by Fred's flooding is back to normal size. FYI, the Wildlife Center is still closed, so there are no restroom facilities or portajohns at the trailhead. At this point, weather looks great - highs of about 62 and almost no chance of rain. Much better than the 85 degrees we sweated through yesterday. We'll do the hike in a clockwise direction and after our stop for lunch on John Rock, we'll continue up till we reach the Cat Gap Loop bypass trail and take it instead of the Cat Gap Loop trail, saving some extra climbing just to come back down. (This hike is #61 of the 100 Favorite Hikes challenge, and I hope doing the bypass doesn't interfere with "counting" this hike toward your challenge completion.) Then we'll rejoin the Cat Gap Loop trail back to the parking lot. Yesterday we met for our carpool at 9:00 and finished hiking at 2:30, so expect about an hour later due to our 10:00 meeting time on Saturday. Do bring poles - there are several rock-hops and a portion of the trail with rocks/roots/ and big step-downs.
hike report:Eight of us gathered at the Fish Hatchery/Wildlife Ed parking lot for a loop hike using Cat Gap Loop and John Rock trails, going clockwise. We started with Some info about the CCC Camp John Rock there from the depression days and a view of where we were going - John Rock itself. One real treat was the largest patch of pink ladyslippers any of us have ever seen! Thankfully the temperature was around 65 - much, much cooler than the day we scouted it. Lunch on the rock was nice - there were others there, but it wasn't crowded at all. Afterward, the going got slower as we headed to the Cat Gap bypass trail, then was nicer as we finished the loop. Many thanks to all for a great day, but special thanks to Danny B for helping in several ways and to Carroll K for locating the side-trail to a waterfall near the end of the hike.
hike report:Eight were on the hike from Lemon Gap to Max Patch for this classic hike with a long, but scenic drive to the trailhead on a well maintained dirt road. We met several thru-hikers on the AT and at the top of Max Patch. We also met a Max Patch Ambassador at the top of Max Patch. Trillium, wild geranium, showy orchid and lady slipper were among the wildflowers we saw. We stopped for part of our lunch at Roaring Fork Shelter. Then we had the other half of our lunches on top of Max Patch. Skies were cloudy, but the spring colors were vivid. Max Patch was spotless with no trash seen. We reported one down tree along the AT, which was about 40 minutes from Lemon Gap. We took an alternative route to Lemon Gap. We got off on Exit 27 on I-40 where the Pilot Gas Station is to access Max Patch Road. This seemed to be a better road than the route listed in the database.
scout report:Two of us scouted the hike last Saturday. It is a 9.8 mile loop with about 1300' of ascent. The hike begins with 3.6 miles on the left side of the Pink Beds Loop. The trail crosses creeks three times. The first two crossings require wading water that is just below topping of hiking boots, and the third is a rock hop. If the water levels are higher on the hike, the second crossing might become a wet crossing. After the last crossing, we'll have an early lunch on rocks at the gauging station, and then follow the Mills River Trail for a mile. Next is a turn onto an unmarked but passable trail over to the Barnett Branch Trail. This trail is followed for a mile, and then we turn onto an old unused forest road down to one of the Cradle of Forestry trails, and follow it past the logging locomotive and logging train and back to the cars, using the best route available to us.
scout report:Lorraine and I scouted on a chilly, cloudy day which included a brief shower at lunch. This hike begins at Cove Creek Gap which is on the way to Cataloochee Valley on Cove Creek Rd. We begin on the Cataloochee Divide trail which often follows the fenced border of the park and is very scenic. We will turn onto the Ferguson Cabin trail and explore the cabin and some history, then walk up to the park’s Appalachian Highlands Science Learning Center, which is used for educational school-related trips and internships. I think it will be closed but it’s very interesting seeing it on top of Purchase Knob and it has very nice views. We will then return to the Divide trail and back to the cars. This is a variation of the original hike because we can no longer leave a shuttle car on Purchase Rd. It will be an in and out hike. It is also hike #36 of the 100 favorite trails challenge. Donna
scout report:Three of us scouted this magnificent hike on a brisk, clear morning. This was a little early in the season, so the gate to the west end wasn't open yet, but we scouted the eastern in-and-out, which is most of the hike. Only the earliest flowers were in bloom: dandelions, bluets, trout lilies, wood anemones, spring beauties, sweet white violets, and strawberries. This is not a long hike, but the footwork is challenging -- lots of steps and step-overs, and very rocky. We should be ready for peak crowds and unpredictable weather at this high elevation. Keep fingers crossed for rhodies in bloom and clear skies for unending views! Becky