Sunday, March 21, 2010

Trip Planning Shouldn't Be This Hard

I would love to say that we spent the morning with maps, computers, and calendars in hand and got our month in the Smokies all planned out.  I thought that was the way this is supposed to work.

We were sitting with maps, computers, and calendars and discussing the long drive on crooked roads around the North Carolina side of the mountain.  Gene mentioned the number of trails I need to hike which we could access from the Tennessee side.  He also mentioned the 30 inches of snow at high elevation.  I decided to look at the park website to check on road conditions.  Several roads are closed in the winter routinely and I wanted to know when those roads would reopen.  Much to my dismay, I discovered that two roads and a campground are closed for construction and will not reopen before we are long gone.  I had several trails from the Smokemont Campground and the campground in closed.  We already knew that Cades Cove Loop Road was closed for repair.  We were really surprised to learn that Clingman’s Dome Road is closed for repair.

I started checking other road closures and discovered that the Little River Road between Metcalf Bottoms and Townsend Y, Foothills Parkway East, and a portion of US 129 (the Dragon) are all closed due to rock slides.  Holy cow.  We were wondering if we could get into the park at all.

After much deliberation, we decided to go to Townsend and hike what trails we can from Little River Road from the Y to Cades Cove.  There are several trails over there that go up to the AT (where the snow is) and give us a good climb.  We can also easily access Metcalf Bottoms and get around the slide area heading toward Sugerlands and the main road over the mountain.  It is a bit of a drive, but you do what you have to do.

We decided not to rent a campsite for a month giving ourselves the option of moving to Pigeon Forge if we decide the drive is just too much.  We decided to stay at Misty River Campground.  We’ve stayed there several times in the past and like the campground.  It is a little pricey, but Gene was able to work a deal with the owner for a 2-week stay and everybody is happy.

It will all work out.  Our primary purpose for this month in the Smokies is to get in some mountain hiking to prepare us for the AT in Virginia.  We can’t loose focus of the goal here.

We spent about 3 hours playing with Kayley and visiting with Jack and Ansley this afternoon.  There is no better way to spend a rainy day.

Time to get started with dinner so I’ll leave it there for today.

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