Charlies Bunion was the perfect destination for today’s Friends of the Smokies hike. It was cool and high.
Charlies Bunion is a classic hike. It starts at Newfound Gap and follows the Appalachian Trail for four miles to a rock outcropping. Unlike most hikes in the Smokies, it’s so popular that it almost feels crowded.
Now as leaders, Holly Demuth and I have to make sure we don’t lose anyone. But do you get extra points for getting new people on the hike? We started out with five participants and two visitors from Rhode Island joined us.
Holly gave out a lot of brochures, explaining the purpose of Friends of the Smokies and Trails Forever. Now Holly is a pro at this and explains the various projects of the Trails Forever program. I just tell people “Trails don’t maintain themselves and the Smokies needs the money.”
Rhododendrons were still in bloom. We also saw Bowman’s root, rugel’s ragwort, a rare but ugly plant, and one lonely Turk’s Cap lily.
People were concerned about bears. Not with all this foot traffic. No self-respecting bear would show its face or rump on this trail.
The next Friends of the Smokies hike will be in early October. It is free for members of Friends. Watch your mailbox or email Holly Demuth for more information.