Thursday, August 30, 2012

Snake Den Trail- Smoky Mountains

Day One:
Snake Den Ridge Trail 4.6
Maddron Bald Trail 1.5
Campsite #29 6.1 Miles

Day Two:
Maddron Bald Trail 1.5
Snake Den Ridge Trail 0.7
Appalachian Trial 2.3
Camel Gap Trail 4.7
Big Creek Trail 0.5
Campsite #37  9.7 Miles

Day Three:
Low Gap Trail 5.4 Miles

Total Miles: 21.2

Having the time and trying to get into shape for an upcoming hike in Colorado, I talked my Dad into doing a three day backpack in the Smoky's.  I offered him a few suggestions and as usual he found another to test my shape.

We headed to Cosby and took the Snake Den trail up.  You gain 3400 feet in 5.3 miles.  There is one level spot......oh never mind, there isn't.

It starts out as a gravel road and at 0.7 it has an old traffic circle and becomes trail.  At this point we started our wildlife viewing as a doe walks down the trail towards us. I think that she would have actually passed us on the trail until Dad stepped aside to let her by and she jumped off the trail and circled around us.  We followed this up with the discovery of a three and a half foot timber rattler on the side of the trail.  He was not happy with us bothering him and showed it with his rattle.  After waiting for him to move on, we decided that we were going to have to move this guy.  Dad picked up a LONG stick, scooped the snake up, and threw him off the trail.  He was still rattling as we walked off.  Shortly after the last visitor, we jumped up another doe.

During one of our breaks as we were sitting on the side of the trail, we heard a very loud burp.  Well, we figured if it was a bear the good news was that it was full.  Then a backpacker came down the trail.  He was surprised to see us, but blamed the noise on something behind him.  He would be the only other person we saw until camp.

We took the Maddron Bald trail down to campsite #29.  There was a view at the top of Maddron Bald which we got a picture from.  When we got to the campsite there was a couple and their daughter from Grand Rapids, Michigan.  We visited with them that night and next morning.

The next morning we hiked back up to the Appalachian trail.  As we took a break at the Camel Gap trailhead a backpacker came by.  He had started at Springer and was on day 36 of his 39 day backpack.  He said he was a long section hiker of the AT.

We took Camel Gap down to Big Creek and campsite #37.  We did stop once at the creek to cool down.  At campsite #37 we had to do some major searching for firewood.  We did manage and had a calm night around the fire telling lies and taking cough medicine.

The next morning we took Low Gap trail out to Cosby.  You go up 1350 feet in 2.5 miles and then drop 2000 feet in 2.9 miles.  Good practice.  Thanks Dad!


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