All I can say is just wow! This trip was one of my favorite of all times and now I can only think about going back for more. Greg and I left on a raining Thursday, but once we got to Knoxville, TN it started to clear and we got good weather to put up our tent and cook our first meal. The campsite in the park was great with running water in the background and trees upon trees. The only problem with the campsite is the fact that there are not any showers.
On our first full day there we decided to tackle the rugged Chimney Tops Trail which is quite a hike up a mountain. The view is just great with all the running water coming down from the top, green trees and the rock filled trail itself. The round trip of this trail is just over five miles but the going is fairly slow with the grade and tough terrain. When you hit a tree that has a lot of it roots sticking out of ground you have made it to the pre-summit then you are just a rock climb away from the top. Greg and I made it most of the way up, but we had our large hiking boots on and felt it was not a good idea to go all the way since we could not feel the rock with our feet.
The following day was pretty busy because we tracked more distance but the trails were not as tough as the Chimney Tops. We hit the Laurel Falls which is just simple beauty. Even though the grade is steep the trail is paved all the way to the falls so it is pretty easy going. The falls itself are sixty feet high and as the water comes down it branches off on each side to give you a really calming view. Next, since we were so sore from the Chimney Tops hike, we decided to skip the Rainbow Falls and just hit the Grotto Falls. This is another popular trail but it is not paved and takes a bit longer to get to the falls. It is in the Mt. Le Conte area so it is pretty steep. You can actually walk behind this twenty five foot falls and feel the cool water as it comes down the mountain. Finally we had some time to kill before the end of our second day so we decided to drive up the Clingmans Dome Road and hike the very, very steep half mile trail to reach the summit of the tallest mountain in the park and on the Appalachian trail. It has an observation tower at the top and the view is just outstanding. Someday I would really like to hike my way to the top to be able to say that I actually climbed it.
Finally it was time to leave, and leaving was awful due to the fact we had to pack up and take down the tent in the pouring rain. Next time Greg and I will have to do some research on where to buy Yuengling Premium as we found copious quantities of Yuengling Larger, Larger Light & Black and Tan. Greg had his taste buds set for Premium and was pretty bumped about not getting any. I also need to remember to take my bag with all my clothes it so I don’t have to make a Wal-Mart trip!
Visit my website to find pictures and YouTube video links:
My Smoky Mountain 2009 Trip