Big Creek – in the Dry

Big Creek - midnight hole

Did you plan to go hiking with Carolina Mountain Club? Did you listen to the rain and thunder and decide to turn over and sleep a little longer, instead?

If so, you missed a great hike.Big Creek - group I was scheduled to lead a hike today. It was raining when I got up, raining when I got ready for the hike and still raining when I got to Westgate, our meeting point.

But I had listened to the weather forecast and they said that the storm was heading eastward and our hike was heading westward to Big Creek in Smoky Mountains National Park. Five other hikers obviously thought the same way. By the time we left Westgate, it was drizzling. By the time, we got on I-40, it was dry. And it stayed dry the whole hike.

Big Creek - snakeBig Creek must be the easiest 10.6 miles in the park. The trail follows an old road and it climbs ever so gently for maybe 1,000 feet. We talked, looked at flowers and even saw a black snake. Maggie was getting ready to go on a backpack in California. Lee told me about an awesome rafting trip she had taken.

OK, we also gloated and felt sorry for all the people who didn’t hike today.

When we got to campsite #37, we saw a family with three adults and three children camping. They were spread out with several tents, rain flies and homemade tables. They said that they had come in last night for a “little vacation”. The woman didn’t like the fact that I took a picture of the campsite.Big Creek - family at campsite #37 

On the way back, we stopped at Midnight Hole, a large pool created by rocks that had tumbled just right. It was early afternoon and there were dozens of people playing in the water and jumping from rocks. See above. It was like Coney Island in the Smokies.

So the six of us had a wonderful time. There’s always a reason not to go hiking – too hot, too cold, too wet, too dry, too far, too long, too easy (yes, I’ve heard hikers saying that some hikes were too easy to bother with). But time to hike is precious, so next time, just come.

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