Ok, so my little hiking group has a new goal (sort of)! The Great Smoky Mountains National Park has 900 miles of official trails that are now calling our name. Our hikes have taken on new direction, and new meaning. Some of us have officially, Andrea and Kirsten, decided they want to try to hike all 900 miles over the coming years. Because I want to do so many other things too, like Appalachian Trail hiking, bike riding, fly fishing--just to name a few, I haven't chosen to accept that challenge at this time.
This past weekend our group did a loop hike that began about a couple miles down the mountain from the entrance to Cades Cove. We hiked Finley Cane trail to Bote Mountain trail to Schoolhouse Gap trail and then traversed across Turkeypen Ridge, returning to our cars a total of 8.9 miles later. On this day, we covered 7.8 new miles that none of us had ever hiked before.
One nice surprise on this hike though, due to all the rain, was an unexpected waterfall on the Turkeypen Ridge trail. I'm not sure that it would be there at all on a day when weather had been dry for a while, so I felt privileged to stand and watch it's somewhat ethereal beauty. It was quite pretty how it cascaded down the mountain, changing course when it hit a section of large rock outcroppings, veering off into what was almost a cave-like opening available to it as it rerouted around the boulders.