Smoky Mountains National Park
December 2 - 3, 2022
When I returned to the shelter it was dark and not a sole was there. I saw a total of four people hiking down as I was going up, but it is a long loop no matter which way you go, and it was a Friday so that made since. Most come up the Alum Cave Trail because it is the shortest and I did hear a large group roaming around when I first got up there. I figured at least there would have been a few at the shelter but I would occupy it all to myself.
|The Bull Head Trail - Mount Le Conte|
I was awake around 5:00 AM still not being able to see anything, so I dosed on and off until about 7:30 AM then made some coffee. I made two cups and sampled a Black Riffle Coffee pouch and their instant coffee. Both were good though I think I might try two packages next time for the amount of water I used. I had my freeze-dried biscuits and gravy and tried to repack my gear to protect it from the rain the best I could.
Finally hitting the trail around 10:00 AM and as I headed towards Trillium Gap I decided to turn around and descend via Rainbow Falls. My plan was to get started earlier and by taking this route it cut about four miles off my trip. The rain came down and I would walk through mist from time to time. I was now making good time as my track took me downhill and I did not see anyone on this side of the waterfall.
When I got to Rainbow Falls I took my camera out to film as I approached but when rounding the last turn the falls were covered in a shroud of mist. Rainbow Falls is one of the most magnificent waterfalls in the park with it being one of my favorites to visit but it did not want its picture taken today.
|Me with Rainbow Falls in the background|
After another two and half miles I reached the Jeep, put on my dry clothes, and headed home for a well-deserved beer. This was a beauty of a hike and one if you are fit enough I would diffidently go and try it. Here in the near future, I plan to try the Bull Head / Trillium Gap loop, but I might go fast and light instead of staying the night. Not sure yet, but you can be sure I will let you know how it goes when I get it in.
|3D Rendering of my route via AllTrails|
- Great Smoky Mountain National Park Website
- GSMNP Trail Map
- My AllTrails Hike Recording
- My YouTube Channel