Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Cooper Road- Smoky Mountains

Day One:6.5 Miles...............Outcast Total: 1082.84 Miles
Cooper Road Trail 5.5
Beard Cane Trail to campsite 11. 1.0
Day Two:9.0 Miles
Beard Cane Trail 1.0
Hatcher Mtn Trail 2.8
Abrams Fall Trail 4.2
Wet Bottoms Trail 1.0
Total Hike: 15.5 Miles

It was like something that we had not seen in a long time! It was something different. There was no snow, there was no ice, there was no rain, no storms, no tornado, no blizzard. It was like walking in a dream. We didn't have to break our candy bars and hold them in our mouths until they melted. We didn't have to dive right into setting up shelter and praying for fire. We didn't even have to break the ice to take a bath. What's up with that?

After work Marco and I headed to the Ponderosa to meet up with Dad. There we were served a three course lunch, given brownies, and sent out the door. We headed to Cades Cove. Our origal plan was changed as the Abrams Creek was higher than expected. Instead of going up Rabbit Creek Trail we reversed routes and took Abrams Falls trail out.

On our drive to the trailhead, we got to see turkey and deer in the cove. We got on the trail at 1:30. Cooper Road Trail is an old road bed that would take you all the way to Abrams campground if you stayed on it. It's an easy climb. When we got to the Beard Cane Trail junction we met a day hiker that had come from Abrams campground. We had a nice visit with him and his family has been hiking the Smoky's for generations.

We took Beard Cane trail to campsite #11 which is along the creek in rhododendron. The weather was cooling down with a strong breeze which made us put on pant legs and a windbreaker. We hung out around the fire and watched the stars. We didn't have to put tarps up so we slept under the stars. In the night a full moon lite up the woods like daylight.

The next morning we got up and headed out after breakfast. We took Beard Cane to Hatcher Mountain trail. We came across a couple of turkeys and a Barred owl on the trail.

When we got to Abrams creek we took a break and enjoyed the view. From here we hiked to Abrams Falls where the traffic began. We ate lunch at the falls and visited with a few folks. From here all the way to the trailhead we met people. I figured that around 50% of them would not make it all the way to the falls.

As we went down Wet Bottoms Trail we somehow managed to get off the trail. I felt like Troy was with us as my Dad headed for the road and we road walked the rest of the way to the Van.

Wow, what beautiful weather!