December 3, 2017
I am usually punctual with the posting of hikes, but in the finality of 2017, time has eluded me. Last week we had a very atypical snow storm that leveled 10 inches in Boone. Unusual in the sense that winter is not officially here.
Prior to the storm, I made my first earnest effort in hiking the trails of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, known as the Smoky 900. While I have been hiking there for years and counting them towards my total, I have been mostly hiking and camping in the Pisgah Ranger District.
Every forest has its own special feel, its own unique personality. Pisgah feels rustic and endearing. I’m still getting to know the Smoky’s, such that I feel no unique fondness as of yet. What I do sense is massiveness, a foreboding grandeur to its landscape.
An apropos caveat, there are not many “trip/trail reports” for the Pisgah Ranger District. As such, I felt inclined to detail the mileage and conditions for any future hikers. This is not the case in the Smokys. They are more highly trafficked, established and documented. I will be taking a more subjective role in my views on this blog. My hope is also to incorporate my family into these hikes, that is once the weather is slightly warmer.
The Chestnut Branch Trail is a nice, short romp alongside its namesake. It’s a gentle creek that originates near Mt. Cammerer. I was in awe of the mist of cold, moss green colors and creek sounds as I hiked. In lieu of just hiking back to the car, I decided to visit the Mt. Cammerer Fire Tower several miles up the AT. Its uniqueness is second to none. Octagonal in appearance, it was a popular attraction, with many people enjoying the views.
May the Smoky’s becomes as familiar to me as my beloved Pisgah. Time will tell.
Total mileage is 12 miles.