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A familiar place December 9, 2012

Posted by Jenny in hiking, Smoky Mountains.
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The clouds and light were wonderful.

The clouds and light were wonderful.

I headed out today for an exercise hike starting on Kephart Prong. It’s a standard loop for hikers, 14 miles and about 3600′ total vertical with the ups and downs—K. Prong trail, Sweat Heifer, A.T., Dry Sluice (trail, not manway), Grassy Branch, back to K. Prong.

Only one spot along this loop is truly dramatic—you see the place I’m referring to above. As I approached the A.T., a dark, chilly fog swaddled the heights, and I thought I might even skip the Bunion. I figured it would be socked in. But as I got nearer, I saw that interesting things were happening in the sky.

From A.T. toward Horseshoe Mountain.

From A.T. toward Horseshoe Mountain.

From moment to moment the light shifted.

From moment to moment the light shifted.

Middle Crag and Rocky Crag from Bunion.

Middle Crag and Rocky Crag from Bunion.

The spruces seem to be marching up the ridges.

The spruces seemed to be marching up the ridges.

Looking across upper Middle Crag Gully.

Looking across upper Middle Crag gully.

The world up here is so very different from ordinary forest. It’s almost hard to believe that you can connect such varied places within a walk of a few hours—a leap of imagination is required. But that is one of the things I love about the Smokies. The photos below show where I started.

Oconoluftee River.

Oconoluftee River.

Water fountain from CCC camp that was here 1933-1942.

Water fountain from CCC camp that was near the Luftee-Kephart junction 1933-1942.

CCC chimney.

CCC chimney.

Something will always keep pulling me toward the crags for the kind of adventure I had in October.

Did I really climb up this spine in October?

Did I really climb up this spine from the bottom?

Comments»

1. T E Stazyk - December 10, 2012

Great pics but I don’t think I would have enjoyed that climb! Doesn’t look to bad for December either.

Jenny - December 10, 2012

The Smokies got a big snow dump in late October from Hurricane Sandy, but now it’s almost all gone and the temps have been warm lately. I saw a few patches of old snow around 6000′.

2. Gary - December 10, 2012

looks like a great hike ..nice surprise to get the views.


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