I don’t use the word “remote” easily but the Twentymile area of Great Smoky Mountains National Park is remote. It is certainly the most distant from population centers in North Carolina. Imagine going to Fontana Village off US 28 and then driving another 15 minutes.
Anna Z., Marielle D. of Friends of the Smokies and I headed that way to plan our Classic Hike overnight trip to Fontana Village. On the first afternoon of our trip, we’ll be leading a half-day hike on the Twentymile loop. The hike is a lollipop consisting of Twentymile Trail, Wolf Ridge Trail, Twentymile Loop Trail (yes, they sound the same) and back on the Twentymile Trail. It’s 7.6 miles all together.
As soon as we started from the Twentymile Ranger Station, we knew we had come at the right time. Carpets of wildflowers were in full bloom: violets, hepatica, bloodroot, and a couple of early nodding trillium. But the star in my estimation were the Sessille Trillium. See the photo above.
Sessile trillium are big maroon flowers. Their distinguishing characteristic is that the flower is attached directly by its base without a stalk. They’re also known as toadshade, big enough the shade a toad, I guess.
Each part of the loop trail had its own stream. We were never far from a stream, creek or cascade. We crossed and recrossed several streams on sturdy split log bridges. Maybe the area isn’t as remote as I think.
The waterfall worthy of a name, Twentymile Cascade, has its own side trail but is difficult to photograph. So no pictures. You’ll just have to come out and see it for yourself.
After the hike, we headed back to Fontana Village where Anna and Marielle worked out where to have all the events of the overnight trip. I hung around the parking lot, talking to a group of young New Yorkers who had come down with their Ferraris, Mazaratis and other car names I can’t spell to drive the Tail of the Dragon. They even had a support vehicle with equipment to keep their cars clean.
I found the guy who I felt was the leader, at least the persuasive leader, and encouraged him to take the group into the park – a national park. And I told him about Friends of the Smokies.
The trip to Fontana will be on Monday-Tuesday August 28-29, 2017. We’ll have hikes both days with one going to the Hall Cabin. Sign up now!