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Anakeestaland January 29, 2014

Posted by Jenny in bushwhacking, hiking, nature, Smoky Mountains.
Tags: , , , , ,
On the western side of Anakeestaland: Trout Branch Scar

Toward the western side of Anakeestaland: Trout Branch Scar.

Deep in the heart of the Smokies lies a realm called Anakeestaland that for some reason doesn’t show up on the map. Roughly speaking, it extends from the Chimneys to Eagle Rocks—but only at the higher elevations. You have to work upward through the sandstone regions to get there.

In Anakeestaland you find a certain combination of things: tidy cushions of sand myrtle, aromatic Rhodo minus, the green-striped Grass of Parnassus. The peregrine falcon chooses to live here.

The Chimneys are located in Anakeestaland.

The Chimneys are located in Anakeestaland.

Anakeestaland collects violent storms. Catastrophic downpours rearrange things periodically, scouring out the side valleys, shoving piles of fractured rock downstream and snapping off big trees. In the logjams at the bottom, treetrunks have been twisted and the bark stripped off, ragged strips of fibrous wood have been peeled back.

Climbing upward, you pass through the regions of smooth sandstone and cross the boundary line into brittle, angular rock that makes good handholds—if the grain runs horizontally. Where it runs vertically, the going is more difficult.

Anakeesta with vertical grain near Shutts Prong.

Anakeesta with vertical grain near Shutts Prong.

For anyone who spends time scrambling over these rocks, the sandstone and the Anakeesta develop distinctive personalities. In keeping with the typical profile of Smokies slopes, the climbing gets steeper in Anakeestaland. Things mysteriously intensify.

In the upper crags of Anakeestaland.

In the upper crags of Anakeestaland.

So many times I have made that journey and crossed that frontier into the high, challenging, beautiful realms.

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No Name Ridge.

The ridge with the paradoxical name of No Name.



1. Ronnie McCall - January 29, 2014

:),Love these places!Great post Jenny

Jenny - January 29, 2014

And you know them well! Thanks, Ronnie.

2. Kent Hackendy - January 29, 2014

I love all those features as I ascend LeConte. It’s that feeling of entering another world completely different from the one at the bottom of the trail. It never ceases to enthrall me.

Ok, I’m not familiar with Eagle Rocks. Where are they located?

Jenny - January 29, 2014

Eagle Rocks is located 1 mile east of Pecks Corner on the Appalachian Trail, at the headwaters of the (appropriately named) Eagle Rocks Prong, one of the great streams of the eastern Smokies. I know some people who have climbed up the stream to the rocks, but I haven’t managed to do that climb myself—yet.

3. Jon Henderson - January 30, 2014

Hey Jenny,
Where was that next to last picture taken? It’s beautiful!

Jenny - January 30, 2014

It was taken on a climb up the spine of Charlies Bunion.

Jon Henderson - January 30, 2014

Thanks, Jenny! Your Smokys blog is the best, bar none!

4. Al - January 30, 2014

Jenny, the crags of Anakeestaland was my favorite…the valley below appears as a giant calming hand whose fingers appear as ridges separated by the shadows of small unseen streams.

Jenny - January 30, 2014

That is a lovely way to describe it, Al.

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