Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Smoky Mountain Hiking

Soon after I finished the Potawatomi 50 miler, four friends and I went to the Smoky Mountains to hike for a few days (we were "headquartered" in a cabin located in Townsend, TN).  I was a little worried that I wouldn't be able to keep up with the group since I was still recovering from my slog-fest at the 50 miler.  Of course, in the past, I was impatient with my hiking buddies--always wanting them to go faster.  Maybe my lingering fatigue would be a positive.  Well, we hiked, I got impatient at times, and I had no real left-over problems from Potawatomi race!  It was a good trip.  We climbed several of the higher peaks in the area (Mount LeConte, Gregory Bald, Clingman's Dome, Brushy Mt) and hit parts of the Appalachian Trail.  Several AT thru-hikers were coming into the Smokys and it was a real treat to see them.  What an amazing group of individuals.  In addition to the AT hikers, we "ran into" two ultra runners that use the area for long training runs (one was doing 25 miles, the other 30 miles).  Impressive through these mountains.  I think I'd be a better ultra runner if I lived close to the mountains.  On one of our drives back to our cabin after a day full of hiking, we saw a black bear--very close to the car.  Other cars were stopped on the road and people were taking tons of pictures.  I got impatient.  They acted like it was a space alien!  Take a photo and move on...and PLEASE don't stop in another 100 meters to take a photo of a deer...then 100 meters later a picture of a turkey...then a squirrel...

Anyway, the trip was good.  We missed the worst of the thunderstorms and most days were cool and clear.  The local rains really swelled the creeks--some of them looked like white water rafting spots!  The hiking was a nice change for my legs and mind.  I came back ready to run. 

Here are my pictures from the trip.  My buddies haven't gotten their photos to a public site yet.  A couple of Facebook uploads, but nothing for total public consumption.  I'm getting impatient...but what's new with that?  I need to relax.

If you want more about the Smoky Mountains and my hiking, here is my account of last year's Smoky Mountains trip (with photos).

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