How much do you need to know about a hike before you sign on?
How concerned are you about getting your boots wet when the weather is warm and the water low and your fellow hikers are friendly?
September’s Friends of the Smokies hike was postponed from a rainy, miserable day last week to a perfect weather day with blue skies, warm temperatures, and low water levels.
Today was a wonderful day to be doing a classic North Carolina hike. The Boogerman Trail may be the most well-known hike on the North Carolina side of Great Smoky Mountains National Park.
The hike has ten major water crossings on the Caldwell Fork Trail. A few years ago, a storm washed away several bridges. Other bridges were damaged, though still standing. Still, we hiked the loop and just got wet.
The park has replaced the first two bridges with sturdy, high structures that will withstand a lot. But other crossings require agility. The park has put in large, flat boulders instead of bridges. That’s where the agility comes in. Still you’ll get your feet wet.
The bottom of the creek is very rocky and uneven. Hikers were experienced enough to cross with their boots on and with hiking poles. Sandals, or worse, bare feet, is just asking for trouble.
Still, I would not want you to think that we were just preoccupied with water crossings.
Mike K., our leader, did a fine job of talking about the history of the Boogerman Trail. We bushwhacked to the Boogerman home site. He took us to a cemetery and the Messer property. He also pointed out huge trees.
Late summer and early fall flowers were bountiful.
We could recognize cucumber root, gentians that were almost pure white, doll’s eyes, and Jack-in-the-pulpit fruit clusters. A few turtle heads were still hanging on, though probably not for long.
The next Friends of the Smokies hike will be on Tuesday, October 10 from Purchase Knob. Fall colors ought to be at their peak at that time and no water crossings will be involved.