Trout Branch scar revisited September 24, 2013Posted by Jenny in bushwhacking, hiking, photography, Smoky Mountains.
Tags: 1000-foot scar, Anakeesta, landslide, Trout Branch, Trout Branch scar, washout
Last November I visited the Trout Branch scar with James Locke on a chilly day with a mix of snow and drizzle in the air. I had problems with cold fingers and gloves, and the photos I took weren’t good. I’d been thinking about returning ever since, and on a lovely September day I decided to revisit the scar on my own.
The landslide occurred last August. It runs from the Alum Cave trail a little above Alum Cave down to Trout Branch. Greg Harrell, who pioneered the route, calls it the “thousand foot scar” because it runs from 5000′ down to 4000′.
I was curious whether this year’s January flooding had made any difference in the washout. It had, in a way most evident in the position of the logjam at the bottom. Formerly standing to the side of Trout Branch, it has now been shoved right into the midst of the stream. Further up, things don’t look much different. The August washout had already completed the job of scouring the stream valley down to the bedrock. It looks as though, along the sides, a few more trees have been swept away.
The exposure of the Anakeesta bedrock to the air has resulted in severe acidification of the streamwater. In Trout Branch, rocks are noticeably red from sulfuric deposits. I would guess that trout no longer find Trout Branch a good place to live.
What follows is a photo gallery.
When I was just below this blowdown, someone looked down from the trail and saw me climbing up the scar. “Are you in trouble?” she called down. “Do you need help?” “No,” I said. “Just doing a little bushwhacking.” Soon after that I was standing on the trail.
A beautiful short hike.