Saturday, January 28, 2017

SMHC Abrams Falls-Cooper Road

Billy and Steve from the SMHC organized a great hike with Jeremy Lloyd, Naturalist from Tremont Institute. We started in Cades Cove at the parking lot for Elijah Oliver cabin. There were more than 15, less than 20 hikers.The forest around here had been burned at some point and Jeremy was teaching us to look at the forest as we hiked. We saw some interesting things today. A bear paw print beside a deer hoof print in the dirt. Some old coyote scat with persimmon seeds in it. A pitch pine among a white pine forest, and learned to recognize it. And Abrams Creek is the lowest elevation in the Park. And you can see Look Rock tower from the trail.

We hiked from Abrams Falls to Hatcher Mountain; it was good to see the pines growing again after the tornado in 2011 ripped the forest apart here. The forest renews itself after fires and tornados, it just takes time. Some of the pines were 5 years old; we learned from Jeremy how to count the whorls of limbs to count the age of the pines. We found a sunny place on the trail to have lunch, and a few found a good spot to stretch out for a little while.

From Hatcher Mountain to Cooper Road, the 5.5 miles I needed for map marking! And back to the cars. 13-14 miles. Didn't get Wet Bottoms this time. Maybe next trip. We came out with more than 15 less than 20 hikers so I guess the 10% rule worked.

Thanks Jeremy, Billy and Steve for a great hike!


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