Date of Hike : Monday, April 22 2013
Miles: 8 miles total
Weather: Absolutely beautiful
I was feeling ambitious today. I haven’t really hiked since early last summer and my workouts have been sporadic at best and here I was about to go out on an 8 mile hike. This was an in and out hike, so 4 miles of uphill and then 4 miles downhill back to the car. I picked this trail because I had heard on the Smoky Mountains Wildflowers Facebook Page that the wildflowers were beautiful on this trail and then of course there was a waterfall at the end. What more motivation did I need?
I got started hiking around 9:45 AM. It was quite chilly at first and started out with my rain jacket on. But it didn’t take long before I was taking it off. The trail started off on an old road bed so it was wide and also a nice gradual incline. I have to say that I was kind of disappointed with the wildflower display. I guess I was expecting these millions of bright colored flowers blanketing the sides of mountain and all along the sides of the trail. And that is not what I was seeing. Yes, there were wildflowers, just not what I was expecting.
I finally made it to the 2 big tulip trees. These things were huge. But then I went around a small curve and there was a
really huge one. Of course I had to ask the couple that was there if these were the trees they were talking about in the Little Brown Book. They confirmed that yes these were the trees. We talked for a few minutes and took pictures of each other in front of the tree. I was glad I ran into them. It’s hard to get pictures of yourself when you hike alone.
I sat down to eat a snack and enjoy the beautiful weather. I caught up later with the couple again. And not because I am such a fast hiker but because they were slow and were looking for birds. Wwe started talking and I learned that were in town for the Spring Wildflower Pilgrimage. They come every year for it. They had come up early to some of their own exploring. I was telling them that I was a little disappointed in the wildflower display and she looked at me like I was crazy. We started walking together and she started pointing out a few flowers such as the Yellow Mandarin. I would have never have noticed that flower because of my preconceived notion of what I was expecting.
I thanked her for sharing with me and went on my to the falls. I decided to push myself a little bit and see how fast that I could there. Of course I got slowed down even more when the trail turned really steep and rocky. But I finally made it to the falls. They were amazing and it was so worth the 4 miles of uphill hiking. I think the most amazing thing was that I actually had the falls all to myself for about 5 minutes before other people got there. I enjoyed conversations with several other people before I made way back down to my car.
Lessons from the trail:
~ All wildflowers aren’t brightly colored. Some are white, some are green, some look like weeds, and some look like fungus.
~ Talking with people on the trail restores my faith in humanity. People are generally nice and want to share their knowledge with you.
~ I can hike 8 miles even being out of shape.