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Upcoming events (5+)
Before you start whining and moaning, it will take a couple of hours to get to the trailhead if you drive from Knoxville, or you can camp at Balsam Mountain Campground or the Mile High Campground. Temps will be cool at the campgrounds at night. Reservations are available for Balsam Mountain and at Mile High Campground (use tent not cabin). Mile High Campground has showers that you can pay a fee to use. I will be staying at the Mile High Campground this year. Both campgrounds are great with wonderful access to some great sunsets. This is a joint hike with the Smoky Mountain Hiking Club. It is a strenuous hike based on the distance of 13.5 to 14 miles and the climb on the trail. There are numerous views and stops for photographs that contribute to the length of time hiking. We will be taking our time to enjoy the views. If you decide to camp, this is a good time to hike Flat Creek Trail, or Spruce Mountain Trail when you leave on Sunday. In addition to the views, you may see and encounter wild boar, turkeys, snakes, elk, and other wildlife along the way. Last year we were fortunate to see an elk calf just right after birth. After we pass campsite 41, we will take a spur trail to see the Big Poplars. It was near the Big Poplars that a ranger supposedly saw a mountain lion in 1972. IF you have not hiked 10 miles with me on a hike, you must message me with your experience in the Smokies, or you will be removed from the hike. Map. https://www.dropbox.com/s/q3pk541wfvv029h/Hemphill%20Bald%20Map.pdf?dl=0 Profile. https://www.dropbox.com/s/2grw8ovms0licp3/Hemphill%20Bald%20Profile.pdf?dl=0 GPX https://www.dropbox.com/s/v79q6ntagix9lak/Hemphill%20Bald%20Loop.gpx?dl=0 How do you get there? Well, you can go various directions, but you need to make sure you allow yourself enough time to get to the Polls Gap Parking Lot on Heintooga Road, or what is listed as Hemphill Bald Trailhead. Pick the route you prefer. Use Google to see the alternate routes.
Noland Divide Trail Trailhead
Fork Ridge - Deep Creek - Noland Divide (15.3 miles; +3632' / -3586') Strenuous Sat, August 24,[masked]:30 am Fall is just around the corner and the higher elevations will show some early signs by now! Let’s go see what they’re up to together and find some interesting stuff (the event host is a certified naturalist through Tremont’s program and loves to share her knowledge with others, for those interested in learning). We’ll start our morning at the Noland Divide Trailhead on Clingman’s Dome Road and shuttle cars to the Fork Ridge Trailhead. From there, we’ll descend on Fork Ridge Trail to its terminus at Deep Creek. We’ll cross Deep Creek and then head south on Deep Creek Trail until it intersects the Noland Divide Trail. From there, we’ll head north on Noland Divide and finish where we left cars, to then shuttle everyone else back to Fork Ridge’s Trailhead. WHAT TO BRING We always suggest carrying the 14 essentials when going onto the woods. You can download a pdf file here that discusses these essentials. https://db.tt/6TXGHbeTsg Lunch Water Shoes (optional) for Deep Creek crossing LATECOMERS AND "NO-SHOWS" *** Failure to change your RSVP, or let us know at least an hour ahead of the hike's start time, qualifies as a 'No-Show' with me, and you may not be able to join my future hiking trips. *** MAPS Route: https://tinyurl.com/y273z2vq Profile: https://tinyurl.com/y6agdq3f GPS (.gpx) File: https://tinyurl.com/y6hmchsj EVENT HOST Nancy is a search and rescue team member in Haywood Co., NC and a frequent hiker/backpacker in the Park. She is a certified naturalist through the Great Smoky Mtns. Institute at Tremont and loves sharing her knowledge about the flora, fauna and natural history of the Park for those who want to learn more.
Tremont Institute Parking #2
*** PLEASE CONSIDER YOUR FITNESS LEVEL TO DO A HIKE OF THIS NATURE BEFORE SIGNING UP *** This will be the next hike in a series of hikes we’ll be doing this summer, exploring former trails within the Smokies that are no longer actively maintained. The ones that have been more recently abandoned are called manways, and have not yet been fully reclaimed by the forest. However, those abandoned in the 30’s, 40’s and 50’s are frequently unrecognizable as a trail in many locations. We’ll be offering the former as “beginner” hikes for those want to venture off-trail without the sacrifice of too much sweat and blood. The latter categories will frequently require a great deal of trail-finding and navigation skills, as well as a willingness to crawl over, under and around downed trees, sometimes near-impenetrable Rhododendron, Mountain Laurel and briers, and the willingness to accept Difficult, Strenuous and occasionally Extreme conditions, as well as frequent involuntary blood loss. TRIP DETAILS - Moderate+ Hike // Intermediate Off-trail This trip will explore a manway that begins near Spruce Flats Falls in Elkmont. Much of the trail should be readily recognizable, however there are sections where we may have to search for the “trail”, and there may be a fair amount of Rhody resistance. It's possible that some crawling skills may also be needed. Expect a fair number of downed trees along the way. Our hiking speed may vary between ½ mph and 2.5 mph. Involuntary blood loss is possible ... it is an off-trail hike. MEETING LOCATION AND HIKE DETAILS We will meet at the Tremont Institute near the Lumber Ridge TH at 9:00 for a quick gear check and some info on off-trail hiking. We'll climb 0.75 miles and 500’ up to Spruce Flats Falls, and then search for the beginning of the Spruce Flats manway. We'll climb another 1000' at 400 fpm over the next 3 miles, past Buckhorn Gap, to the junction with Meigs Mtn Trail. Then the fun begins. We'll try and follow the former Meigs Mtn (West) manway back down to the Lynn Camp Prong river and see if we can find a semi-dry way across. The 3.0 mile hike out will drop only 600', at 200 fpm, but the trail may come and go, and your dodging, leaping and crawling skills may be exercised. You may want to bring water shoes. We expect to be off trail by 5:00-6:00 pm. IMPORTANT INFORMATION We rate this hike as Moderate+//Intermediate off-trail due to the 1500' of elevation change and moderate slope, and don’t expect overly rough conditions, but anything is possible off-trail. We advise everyone to wear heavier hiking pants, bring a long sleeved, loose fitting, tight-weave shirt, and solid hiking boots or trail runners. We also recommend carrying some form of safety glasses or shooters glasses for eye protection, as well as a baseball cap or hat, and gardener’s, mechanic’s or workmen’s gloves to reduce the chance of injuries. (see photos) No Short Sleeves => https://tinyurl.com/yykafh3f No thin pants/shorts => https://tinyurl.com/y3pxrnle WHAT TO BRING Bring a compact day bag, rain coat, 2L water, lunch and snacks, and a willingness to learn new stuff with a great group of people. We always suggest carrying the 14 essentials when going onto the woods. You can download a pdf file here that discusses these essentials. https://db.tt/6TXGHbeTsg LATECOMERS AND 'NO-SHOWS' It’s important that everyone is on time (or early). You wouldn't want to get left behind because you’re running late. If your plans change and you can’t come on the hike please remember to change your RSVP. *** Failure to change your RSVP, or let us know at least an hour ahead of the hike's start time, qualifies as a 'No-Show' for me, and you may not be able to hike with me in the future. *** MAPS AND NAVIGATION Spruce Flats Manway Map = https://tinyurl.com/y2n2anvu Spruce Flats Manway Profile = https://tinyurl.com/y3an4ub8 Trail Slope key (https://db.tt/Z9fgt6Ghbx) EVENT HOST: Lane DeCost - AT section hiker / "900 Miler" / SAR Team Volunteer
This is a short 3.1 miles shuttle hike, for those who are interested, after Dale's hike. Map https://drive.google.com/open?id=1RwscMtvaTJ1zktctBFVsskCjKe5O4q6F Profile https://drive.google.com/open?id=12Q_ReKjL7GSsz3x9pe5rPhSxBlkM_VlZ GPX https://drive.google.com/open?id=1F4UxeGCr5aCtda40JBcCyWD_DCS3tvZg