If you’re dayhiking a section of the A.T. in the woods, you really look. Then you find lots of interesting features that never make it into the trail guide.
We had 19 hikers, many who live outside the Southern Appalachians, so that added variety to the hike. I may be blaze about blooming Rosebay rhododendons but those from the Northeast really appreciated them. We saw one lonely Turks-cap lily and we discussed if they looked like the hats worn by Turkish people.
Lots of fungus as well.
The hemlocks had been attacked by the hemlock wooly adelgid which looks like white cotton. The adelgid has been working its way South for several decades. It has been in the Smokies for a few years now.
We went up to Hurricane Mountain Shelter for a snack. It was a modern shelter, which may not follow the standards of a rustic shelter but this is what the local A.T. club wanted to build. Did they have the freedom to build the kind of shelter they pictured?
The last highlight was Comers Creek Falls. By any standard, it was a small waterfall, hard to photograph in the noon day sun. We had a late lunch and many of us put or feet in the water.
Any section of the A.T. is fascinating if you really look. This may sound Pollyanish but I think it’s true. The really iconic places are easy to get to – Clingmans Dome, Mount Washington … It’s the small waterfalls and fungus on the underside of rocks that make the trail the experience it is.