Monday, April 5, 2010

Rich Mountain Loop Hike

As I have mentioned before, the Cades Cove Loop road is closed for repaving.  I’m not complaining.  It has been needing to be fixed for a number of years.  It is closed a couple mornings each week to motorized traffic so bicyclists can ride the loop without danger of death or dismemberment from drivers looking at the bears instead of traffic.  I have tried to ride that loop a few times on my bicycle and it was so full of pot holes and broken pavement that it was not worth the effort.  We’re glad the road is getting a much needed facelift.  However, there are several trails back there that are not accessible due to construction.  It is a beautiful area and we miss not being able to hike back there.

Today’s hike was about as close as we could get to Cades Cove--Rich Mountain Loop Hike.  We started from the Rich Mountain trailhead located just a few feet past the gate which blocks traffic to the loop road.  The first mile and a half is pretty flat, but then ascends steeply for the next couple miles where we picked up Indian Grave Gap Trail.  We continued our climb over the top and then descended along the Crooked Arm Trail.

Early in our hike, we came to the Oliver cabin.  Cades Cove was a relatively large settlement of frontier farmers during the 1800s.  John Oliver built this small cabin around 1819.  Today, the park service maintains this, as well as several other cabins and churches, as a way to help the modern visitor get a sense of what life in the early 1800s was like in this area.

Had several opportunities to use the saw today.
We saw a few wildflowers again today, but it is a little too early for the mountain laurel to be in bloom.  Too bad, it makes for a beautiful hike.  Perhaps the highlights of the hike were the splendid views we had from Rich Mountain looking down into Cades Cove.  I love those views.  You can’t get them in the summer when the trees are in leaf.

It felt like summer out there today and we got pretty hot.  Without leaves on the trees there is no relief from the sun.

Another big climb today of over 1700 feet, 8.5 miles of trail, in five and a half hours total elapsed time.  We are very happy with our progress.

Tomorrow will be a rest/chore day.  I’ve got to wash some of these smelly hiking cloths. The remainder of the day will be devoted to REST.

No comments:

Post a Comment