Wednesday, January 27, 2016
Sunday, January 17, 2016
Lillian suggested a weekend of hiking. We decided on the Deep Creek area. She and Karen spent Saturday at the Sandhill Crane festival in Birchwood, then joined me in Cherokee in time for dinner.
I had driven to Bryson City earlier in the day, to check out the Thomas Divide trailhead. It was up a dirt road, mostly one lane. Judi and I had come off the trail here before. As I started back down the road I met a Ranger in a truck coming up. One of us had to back up.....me. I am glad Craig has made me practice backing the boat trailer. Backed up, moved over and got a big smile from the guys inside that seemed surprised that I didn't run off the side of the bank using my sideview mirrors :)
Then on the Cherokee and to Smokemont.
I hiked part of the Tow String Rd trail that joined the Bradley Fork Trail. I spent some time at the Oconaluftee Visitors Center, walking along the River Trail, and exploring the museum. I just missed the concert they had there, but the beautiful sunshiny day I would rather be outside. Later in the afternoon, on a tip from a volunteer at the museum, I found the elk in a field on Big Cove Road. Just after dark Lillian and Karen met me at Pauls Diner for a supper of Buffalo burgers and Indian tacos. We crashed for the night at Great Smokies Inn.
Sunday we woke up to snow coming down and a warning from the guy at the convenience store about road conditions driving to Deep Creek. Three brave souls drove thru the snow showers to Bryson City and Deep Creek Campground to drop off a car. We drove back a little way to try and find the trailhead for the Cooper Road Trail. On the way we saw a hawk sitting in the road holding onto something dead, he didn't fly away...strange. Anyway, we found "No Parking", and No Trespassing" signs and a locked gate at a trout farm. On to Plan B.
The snow had stopped. Thomas Divide Trailhead. We did a loop of Indian Creek Motor Trail, Deeplow Gap, Indian Creek, Stone Pile Gap x 2, and Thomas Divide out to the parking lot for Deep Creek, then hiked the Juney Whank Trail. Est 11.5 miles for the day.
Fun weekend with the ladies.
Saturday, January 2, 2016
Friday, January 1, 2016
I went to Edgar Evans State Park for the 1st hike of the year, sponsored by Friends of Edgar Evans SP. There were 82 folks there to hike and eat and hike. We met at the pavilion by the marina and spread the food on the table. Crockpots plugged in, gloves and toboggans on, we carpooled to the trailhead for the Millennium Trail. We had a Park Ranger to lead the hike and three other Rangers came along. It's a pretty trail, some old home sites and rock walls, and a couple of places where the lake came up into the trail. All the recent rains have raised the lake levels.
When we got back to the pavilion, hungry hikers loaded plates, got some hot chocolate or hot apple cider and had a New Year's feast. Lots of ham, black-eyed peas, not a collard to be seen, potato salad, fruit salad, pasta salad, hominy, chips and dips, and LOTS of desserts! Thanks to the Rangers and the park, we had lots of firewood for the fireplace. It got a little warmer when the sun came out for our 2nd hike. A smaller crowd drove to the visitor's center and hiked the loop trail that leads down to the lake and then switchbacks up the ridge to the visitors center. They have a tower there, nice views of Center Hill Dam from the top.
Got to see some of my backpacking friends, met some nice people and really enjoyed this beautiful day.