Friday, November 11, 2011

Hiking in the Smokies

Adam and I did two day long hikes while in the Smokies. The first was the Rich Mountain loop near Cade's Cove which we soon learned is the most popular part of the park. Luckily we only saw three other people on the 8.5 mile hike- the ridiculous hordes of people spent the vast majority of their time in their cars. It was a nice hike- lots of pretty fall color and we saw an elk, but not a must do.

On the cliff.
Winter and fall at the same time. See the snow on the top trees?

Our last day in the park we did the Alum Caves hike on the recommendation of the guy who topped off our anti- freeze at the Volkswagen dealership. Seriously. We figured he was a local so knew his rocky mountain hikes. It was a really great hike. There were a few other people but there were enough points of interest and stunning views to more than make up for it. the hike starts out along a creek, very pretty with nice sound effects. Then we hiked through a cave. Then there was a nice cliff overhang at about the half way point to the peak. Most of the other hikers turned around at the cliff. It had snowed the night before so for the second half of the hike it was a winter wonderland. Very pretty. A lot of the hike was on rocky cliffs so there were wire handrails drilled into the rocks to hold on to. With all the ice we definitely utilized those!

We could not see a whole lot from the top of the mountain due to fog but that was okay. We had a quick snack then headed back down. On our way down the sun came out and it started to warm up to the point that all that snow and ice started to melt. It suddenly became spring! So we experienced fall at the beginning of the hike, winter in the middle and spring at the end. It was pretty darn cool. I definitely recommend this hike.
Winter on the way up.

Snow starting to melt on the way down.

For more pictures from our trip, check out the slideshow I added to the blog homepage. Just click on it to make it bigger.

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