Sunday, November 1, 2015

Pretty Hollow - Smoky National Park

Day One: 9.6
Pretty Hollow Trail: 1.6
Palmer Creek Trail: 3.3
Balsam Mt. Road: 0.7
Balsam Mt. Trail: 4.0

Day Two: 9.8
Balsam Mt. Trail: 0.3
Mt. Sterling Ridge: 3.9
Pretty Hollow Gap Trail: 5.6
Total Miles: 19.4

We started in Cataloochee getting to the trailhead around 1 pm. We got to see some Elk on the way to the trail. There were lots of people in the valley and quite a few on the first half mile of the trail. After that we saw three backpackers, two hikers, and two people leading their horses. After that we had the mountains to ourselves! Yes, I told the horse people that I was proud of them for wearing out their horses as you don't see that very often.

It was a beautiful day for hiking and we got a good breeze most of the way to Laurel Gap Shelter. The Shelter has been reworked and looking good! Knowing that we were to have rain tonight, we gathered wood and started our fire in the fire place in the shelter. We had a nice evening around our fire place and no visitors except the resident mouse. He picked on us most of the night climbing around the bunk and packs.

One quick story: I had just fallen asleep and was snoring quite well. Lora had to get her earplugs out of the Ziploc bag. Hearing this I woke up thinking something was in our food bag and yelled "HEY!" and clapped my hands. As I was trying to get out of my blanket, which held me tight, Lora was yelling "What? What?" As I leaped to the floor, I told her that something was getting our bearbag and I was shining my light through the fog at the hanger. After not seeing anything around the bag, I was explaining to Lora that I heard something wrinkling plastic and she explained what she had done. OK, so maybe I worry a little bit too much about my food......

The rain had stopped the next morning and we had a beautiful hike back down the mountain.


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