5/14/09 Memories

Took us three tries to get gas at one So. KY interchange. 

Set up camp at Look Rock for the night.

Long, slow drive around Cades Cove where we saw 5 bears.

Dinner at Riverstone Family Restaurant in Townsend, where they serve the drinks in Mason Jars.

Sitting under tarps tied to the roofs of our cars because it was pouring rain and that is the only place where we could enjoy our cocktails.


Drive to Fontana Lake Marina for $50 pontoon boat ride to Hazel Creek Trailhead. Passing Deals Gap along the way.

4.7 mile hike to campsite #84. Weather was good for this part of the trip.  Surrounded by monarch butterflies on sections of this trail.  Along the way saw other campers pulling carts instead of carrying backpacks. A new way to go. Set up camp in a crowded campsite but the site was nice. It was in the "V" of 2 creeks.

Took a short 5 mile round trip up Bone Valley Trail to the Hall Cabin. Found out that there were going to be a lot of knee deep creek crossings on this trip. We have 8 on this short hike. We had to hike back in a brief rain storm.

That night after dinner and getting bourbonized, I did a walk about to meet the neighbors. Most of them were from North Carolina and were Duke and NC Tarheal fans.  The discussions were lively and factful.  Also, met some hikers that were from Poland but living in Tennessee.  Went to bed late but it was fun.


I woke up with a tad bit of a headache from the lively discussions the night before.  Around the breakfast table I again ask all the boys if they were up for the 20 mile day hike.  To my disappointment everyone responded in favor of doing a trail that I knew would be a beast.  We started by walking 2.6 miles to the head of Cold Spring Gap Trail. I knew that this would be the killer up hill of the trail. For the next 3.6 miles we walked up hill. We had about 5 knee deep crossings and a lot of just walking up the hill through flooded creeks that ran down hill on the trail.  It was great, with a roaring stream in view the whole way up. After a brief rest at the junction with Welch Ridge Trail we headed up to High Rocks.  This was the site of an old Fire Tower with a nice view and millions of flying insects.  The ridge walking was another nice trail.  After 4 miles we came to the junction at the top of Hazel Creek Trail.  At this point we only had 10 miles to go and we were all wasted. The Hazel Creek Trail was great.  Down hill and beautiful.  About 1/2 the way down it started to storm.  We were already soaked from the knees up because of the 10 stream crossings.  Captain and I got back with about an hour of daylight left, hoping that the rest of the crew was right behind, they were.  We set the all time distance record for a day hike that day. We did 22.2 miles and it took about 11 hours. I was ready for a bourbon and some good stories. That didn't happen, it continued to rain for the next 3 hours and I went to bed.


Woke up in the rain and packed in the rain.  So much for spring time in the Smokys.  We hiked the 4.5 miles out and waited a short time for the boat pick up.  The only event that happen here was watching the BA take his second swim of the trip, when he tried to leap off the boat to the dry shore and didn't make it.  I would recommend the Hazel Creek Trail to any one, but the boat ride was a rip off. Total distance for the weekend was 36.2, another record.  We are getting older, and I am getting tired.

After a Sonic lunch we headed home.