Tuesday, April 16, 2013

If you're gonna do the 900, you gotta do them all!

There is one part of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park that I must say I am not extremely fond of. That's hard for me to admit because I do realize just how fortunate I am to have one of the most beautiful places on the planet right here in my own backyard. However, perhaps it's due to the devastation this particular region has encountered over the last two or three years from tornadoes and other bad storms, but the part of the park near Abram's Campground is my least favorite area.

I had hiked in this part of the park last spring with my husband, and earlier this year when I did Hatcher Mountain trail (I swear we had been told it was open again by someone who had hiked it with a well-known hiking group). I had also already done the Cooper Road Trail earlier this year. The scenery is scarred and reminded me of a war zone with all the broken and downed trees. On a Sunday in February when we had been unable to hike on our usual Saturday, Jennifer and I decided on a whim to just go and do Goldmine Trail and Cane Creek Trail.

This was strictly a trail-marking hike! It was a nice day and any day in the woods is better than NO day in the woods, but this pair of trails was very similar to the ones we had already done in that area. There just wasn't a lot of scenery to look at, although I will also say that the storm damage was less here. Just on those short trails (total of less than 6 miles in and back out) we did 26 water crossings, several of which required us to don our water shoes. In fact, there was one 2.5 mile stretch on the way back out where we simply left our Keen sandals on the entire time.

We did see a few wildflowers beginning to come up and even a couple early violets in bloom. The yellow trillium were also beginning to set some buds, promising the arrival of spring in the not too distant future, although the beginning of THIS spring was to be delayed for much longer than any of us had envisioned.

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