Yesterday, I helped my friend Janet get some more Smokies miles. She’s very close to becoming a 900 miler. Her itinerary was:
This hike was16.5 miles and 4,000 ft. ascent. Janet, left, had arranged to get in at the Cooper Creek Trout Farm, which butts up against the park. When we arrived, the gate was locked and we couldn’t get the rusty gate open. The owner came down and decided that it was time to open up for business.
The picture below is of Cooper Creek Trout Farm.
Cooper Creek Trail, in my opinion, is the worst and scariest trail in the park. It is lined by old, private shacks and trailers. This is my third time on this trail and each time, I expect dogs to run down and challenge my right to be on this trail. But no one was there, either first thing in the morning or when we walked out about 6 P.M.
These are Smokies miles so the hike was not as difficult as the numbers (mileage and ascent) would indicate. But I had an altercation with a root. I didn’t see it coming out of the ground, tripped and almost fell on my face. Instead, my right hand and wrist took the brunt of the fall. I sprained it and it hurts.
I stayed in Cherokee last night and went into the Oconaluftee Visitor Center today. This is the busiest it’s been since I started. We’re getting a wider range of visitors. I designed a backpack for a guy in Hazel Creek. I sent a group of German hikers up to the Appalachian Trail and I sent others to the Mingus family cemetery.
Still, we had to field complaints about lack of signage for various attractions. One guy complained that he missed the turn to Cades Cove. His wife pointed out that he missed the sign to the Sugarlands Visitor Center. They found themselves at Oconaluftee before they stopped.
The guys above are the trail maintenance crew. Several of them just started today. They cleaned cemeteries and mounted graves.
I could have added “Smokies on Tuesday” to the title of this entry since I’m going to go to the Sugarlands site tomorrow for training. Then maybe, they’ll let me take out visitors on a walk.