jump to navigation

An illegal walk in the park October 11, 2013

Posted by Jenny in hiking, Smoky Mountains.
Tags: , , ,
trackback
We started before dawn.

We started before dawn.

I had a guest staying from out of town, and we were in the mood for civil disobedience. It was a no-risk proposition: I knew that after the first couple of days of the government shutdown, the park rangers were allowing people to walk from the Newfound Gap parking area past the orange barrel on the A.T. that says “CLOSED.”

The A.T. going either direction from NFG  is, in effect, the only accessible trail within the park, though it is quite possible to get to other trails by walking on gated roads or by parking close to one of the barricaded trailheads on 441 and walking a short distance. Don’t try to bicycle on a gated road, though, for the Park Service considers that a “vehicle”—Jeff George, a follower of this blog,  cycled all the way from Gatlinburg to NFG but was stopped when he tried to continue up the Clingmans Dome road.

And of course one could do a bushwhack from a non-trailhead pullout on 441. But my friend Maryanne is not a bushwhacker. Walking the A.T. to Charlies Bunion was virtually our only choice. We decided to make it more interesting by going very early.

We started hiking at 7:00. I led the way with my headlamp, and Maryanne carried a small flashlight. By the time we reached Mt. Ambler, the headlamp wasn’t needed any longer.

View near Sweat Heifer junction.

View near Sweat Heifer junction.

Sunbeams breaking through.

Sunbeams breaking through.

We were in and out of mist.

We were in and out of mist.

Witch hobble leaves.

Witch hobble leaves.

The Bunion.

The Bunion.

Horseshoe Mountain.

Horseshoe Mountain.

It made me feel sad to look over to Horseshoe, since I haven’t had the opportunity to get back over there for another try at climbing Horseshoe Branch following my unsuccessful attempt. If I don’t have a chance to do it soon, the daylight hours will be too short. It’s hard to say which way is harder, going from Porters Creek or from NFG (from the latter point, I would drop down from Dry Sluice Gap).

This zoom shows the slide. I was a little below the bottom of it when I got stung by wasps.

This zoom shows the slide. I was below the bottom of it when I got stung by wasps.

View toward the east.

View toward the east.

View toward the Jumpoff.

View toward the Jumpoff.

But it was great to be out on a fine early morning. We saw no one until we were nearly back to the trailhead.

P1020520

Advertisements

Comments»

1. Kent Hackendy - October 11, 2013

Ah, man, what a day to do Charlies Bunion. The colors are just about at peak above 5,000′ I hear. 🙂

I have to do that hike again on a clearer day then the day I trekked out there last summer.

Jenny - October 11, 2013

I’d say just a tad before peak up there, but the weather’s been so gorgeous that it’s delightful to be there regardless of the colors. Yes, do come back for another hike to the Bunion!

2. Al - October 11, 2013

These pictures are superb.

Jenny - October 11, 2013

Thank you, Al. It’s hard to go wrong with the camera in these conditions!

3. T E Stazyk - October 11, 2013

Your pictures really make things like the squabbles of government officials fairly irrelevant!


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s