What do you do when you want to hike an outstanding trail but it’s too short to warrant a long drive? You really don’t want the drive to be longer than the hike. So you get creative and add another trail to the day. That’s what we did today at the Friends of the Smokies Classic Hike in Great Smoky Mountains National Park.
Today we all met at Clingmans Dome to first hike the Forney Ridge Trail to Andrews Bald, the first trail to be rehabilitated with funds from Trails Forever. Before the rehab work, it had been a wet, rocky slide.I hadn’t thought much of it; I was happy to have a trail at all at 6,500 feet.
“After a rain, you could canoe down this trail,” Josh Shapiro, the Trails Forever crew leader said. Josh had accompanied us to explain how the trail work was done.
But after three hard years of work, hikers have a solid and mostly dry trail. It’s still a good uphill climb on the way back from Andrews Bald.
But to make the hike worthwhile, we climbed on the Appalachian Trail going south. The views were magnificent. We couldn’t stop taking photos. See above.
But wait! What are these purple and green leaves? The leaves look perfectly ordinary in the Smokies, but the color? Leaves should be red and yellow right now. Were they painted? Does anyone have an answer? Can you smoke them? As one hiker said,
“Why do you think they call it the Smokies?”
Now that I have your attention, sign up for the next hike on Noland Creek on Tuesday November 8. Though it’s 10 miles, it’s almost flat and so historic.