We made a trip to the GSMNP last weekend, almost a year after our first ever trip there. This time too we stayed in a pretty little cabin, in rural TN, run by the same family from whom we rented last year. The cabin was set in the middle of tall trees with a tiny brook running on the side of the house and some pretty wildflowers growing in the yard.
We reached there late on Friday and spent the night in the cabin. We set off for the trek on Saturday with S who had driven down from Atlanta. The hike was of moderate intensity and was part of the Appalachian trail. We saw many through hikers carrying heavy packs and I was kicked to see they looked just like how Bill Bryson describes them in his book! We also got to see a shelter for the hikers and it was not very different from the one we spent the night in Rudranath!
We were not fully prepared for the cold of the mountains and it hit us as a surprise especially after the really hot days we had been experiencing in C'lotte. We had carried rain jackets in preparation for the rainy forecast, which thankfully gave us some protection from the cold. It did rain but then again we got lucky as it was very light rain and was not something that bothered us much. On the other hand, because of the cloudy and rainy weather conditions, we missed out on the great views of the mountains for which Charlie's Bunion is famous for. A thick fog had descended everywhere, visibility was poor, and true to their name the mountains looked like they were covered in smoke!
As it was early spring, we got to see some of the famous Smokey Mountain Wildflowers on the sides of the trail and the tiny raindrops which had settled on the flowers gave us some good photo opportunities.
We covered the distance of 8 miles in four hours and twenty minutes. After that we returned to the cabin and spent a relaxed evening slowly digesting our heavy southern dinner!