Friday, October 31, 2014

Indian Flats Falls

Oct 24, 2014  Steve and I decided to hike to Indian Flats Falls, near Tremont.  These falls are not marked on any of the park maps, for some reason but most of the locals know the way.  The trail is actually an old railroad bed, leftover from the logging days before the park was formed. Now it is a horse/hiking trail.  Although it is an 8 mile round trip, it is a very gentle climb and follows the river most of the way.  There are numerous small waterfalls and cascades along the way and it was a very pleasant hike.  We saw several horse groups(usually we only see their "calling cards")  We will definitely hike this spot again.
We hiked this far with our grandson Eli last spring.  We sat on this bench and ate a snack before heading back.  Eli had just turned two and hiked over two miles that day.  Let's just say he took a real good nap!

We think this was from one of the logging camps.  There was a stone wall surrounding this chimney that we think was the foundation of the building.

Steve is looking at a stovepipe, and a rail from the railroad.

The falls!  This would be even more wonderful on a hot summer day.

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Oct 13.  My mom came to visit us for a couple of days, and we took her to Cades Cove, one of her favorite places.  We did a hike to the John Oliver cabin, about 3 miles total.  A volunteer ranger was at the cabin, and he was a fountain of information about the people that once lived here. 

 We had lunch at this "hidden" picnic area in the cove.

The view from Rich Mountain Road, looking back into the cove.  This is one of my very favorite views.

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Schoolhouse Gap to Chestnut top

We have hiked on parts of this trail, but never the whole thing.  Schoolhouse Gap starts near Cades Cove and ends at the Townsend Wye, so we needed two cars, or we would have a very long walk back (6 miles each way).  Our friends John, Alice, Hank and Margaret were our hiking companions.  The first part of the trail is also used for horses, which means it is not too steep and is wider than most trails.  Once we got to Schoolhouse Gap and turned onto Chestnut top trail, it was downhill all the way.  Chestnut top is renowned for its wildflowers in the spring, but it is no slouch in the fall either.  The leaves were just beautiful, and it was another day of all of us saying, "Look up!" or "Over there!".  I don't think we could have ordered a prettier day.

Bear den!  This was a huge tree and was hollow all the way up.  Perfect spot for a variety of wildlife.

The green in this picture was a very fine moss.  It was so soft and looked almost like a carpet.

The Townsend Wye.  This is a very popular spot in the summer, but was almost deserted today.

Thomas Divide hike.

Friday, Oct 17.  Steve and I hiked by ourselves on the Thomas Divide trail.  The trail starts on the NC side of the Smokies, just below Newfound Gap, and except for about 1/2 mile at the beginning, is relatively flat, in mountain terms at least! There were really no views from the trail.  These pictures were taken from Newfound Gap road.

View of the Chimneys.  You CAN hike to these, and I have done it, but it's not for the faint of heart.  The trail is like a 2 mile long, very steep stairway.  But the views are worth it!

The white in the distance is fog in the valley.

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Best laid plans...

A group of us had planned a hike to Grotto Falls, not stopping to think that this was the busiest time of the year in the Smokies. Grotto Falls is packed on a quiet day, so we realized it would be impossible today. So, plan B..we drove on Newfound Gap road to Smokemont campground near Cherokee, NC., and hiked the Bradley Fork trail to Chasteen Falls. I've hiked many trails in the Smokies but this one was brand new for me. The leaves were gorgeous  on the ride over. You should have heard all 6 of us pointing out each beautiful view! It truly was breathing and there is no way pictures can do it justice.