Monday, April 19, 2010

Beard Cane Trail

There is a crazy group of folks out there who have it in mind to hike all 900 miles of trail in the Smokies.  I’m among that group of crazies.  Gene is, too, but he has already hiked all the trails and is now out with me.  Does that make him doubly crazy?

I have almost all the trails done on the Tennessee side and was hoping to get several trails on the North Carolina side during this month in the Smokies.  However, since so many of the roads going over to that side of the mountain were closed and we were unable to get to a campground over there, I have been unable to hike much new trail this month.


Today, however, we finished Beard Cane Trail.  This trail lies in the far western corner of the park with no access directly to the trail by any roads.  All I needed was the first 3.5 miles of that trail, having done the far end a couple years ago.  The closest we could get to the trail was at the Goldmine trailhead.  In order to get that 3.5 miles, we had to hike a total of 13 miles today--6.5 miles each way.  Thank goodness, it was mostly flat.

However, we did have a few creek crossings and blowdowns to climb over.  Actually, there was more than a few.  In the 2.5 mile stretch between campsite 11 and campsite 3 there were 26 creek crossings and 13 blowdowns.  Since we had to do it all again on the way back, that made for a fairly difficult hike.

We stopped for lunch at backcountry campsite 3.  This was our turn around point.  It is a nice campsite on Hesse Creek--a great spot for lunch.  It would have been a nice spot to pitch the tent and spend the night.  Would have hated to cross all those creeks and crawl through all those blowdowns with a full backpack on.

Lunch at Campsite 13

We went down Goldmine trail which is a rutted horse trail at the edge of the park.  We connected with Cooper Road trail which took us over to Beard Cane.  Cooper Road was the primary road into Cades Cove back in the early 1800s.  Before that it had been an Indian trail.  Beard Cane trail is a horse and hiking trail.  With so much water around, the edge of the trail was a carpet of spring wildflowers.  Huge patches of crested dwarf iris were my favorite.

Crested Dwarf Iris

Well, you can guess what I’m doing this evening.  After I put dinner in the microwave, I’m heading over to the recliner.

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