GSMNP Winter Hike- February 16-18, 2013

It has been awhile since I have been hiking in the real woods and I needed to get out. Fortunetly Christine's schedule coinsideded with mine and we planned three days on the trails in the Smoky Mountains. Unfortunely the weather did not co-operate, not in getting in the way of hiking, but the constant rain, literally washed away the roads we needed to reach the trails. Undaunted she planned three days of day hikes to be long and challenging.

Saturday started with a great hike from Tremont over to Elkmont. We parked a car at each end and hiked the 12 miles along Lumber Ridge and then Meigs Mountain Trail.

No sooner had we started the hike than it started to snow. we tried to get the first few flakes on camera, but we didn't need to, as it started to really come down.

10-15 minutes and the trail and us are covered in snow

What a beautiful day it was walking in the snow and noticing all the beautiful small details as well as the large.

Day 2 - Sunday- saw a change in the weather- clearer skies after an unusual cloud display as the high pressure tried to move in
We were headed for the top of the smokies today. Taking Lower Mt. Cammerer Trail 7.5 miles up to meeting the Appalachian Trail (AT) and back down, for a total of 15 miles

Sutton Ridge Overlook panorama

Several large hemlocks had fallen on the trail and made for difficult going in a couple of spots near the top

Christine moves around and through the downed trees

The trail was beautiful in the new snow- this was the first time this year the Smokies had shown its winter coat and we are the first to be on the trail since the snow.

notice no footprints ahead of us- its beautiful, but makes it harder to break trail for the first time

what a difference 5 hours makes- on the way down the snow has melted and revealed the trail that we couldn't see on the way up.

a warmer finish to a very beautiful hike 15 miles in 9 hours

 Monday was spent doing some errands and hiking short nature trails. The wet and warmer than normal conditions had lots of the early spring flowers trying to emerge.

 We did work for our dinner- walking 2 miles into Gatlinburg for dinner and back

Trails Hiked:
 Tremont to Elkmont via: Lumber Ridge to Meigs Mountain 12 miles
Lower Mt. Cammerer Trail to the AT and back 15 miles
Sugarland Vistors Center Nature trail and Falls- Gatlinburg trail- 5 miles
Animals Seen or Heard:
Bobcat, Turkey, Owl, Woodpecker
Recommended Restuarants:
Lemon Grass- Thai Food, Maryville, TN
Mellow Mushroom, Vegitarian Pizza, Gatlinburg, TN

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