Saturday, August 16, 2008

Hiking to Charlie's Bunion

Charlie's Bunion

Charlie's Bunion Trailhead (The AT)

Today, my neighbor Jeff and I headed up to the Smokies for some hiking. We expected to see lots of people out and about since the weather was wonderful, so we wanted to go with a less popular destination. We originally wanted to go to Spence Field, but after looking at the length and elevation change, we chose to go to Charlie's Bunion. Neither of us had ever done this hike and it was extremely relaxing. I hadn't been out on a hiking trip without a fishing rod in a couple years, so this was a decent start. A website that use to learn more about some of the trails in the park rate Charlie's Bunion as a diffulty of ~11.5. Just for comparison here is how this trail rates with some other more popular trails: Chimneys - 6.7, Alum Cave to Mt. Leconte - 16.5, and Ramsey's Cascades - 12.7. When we arrived at the Newfound Gap trailhead we were surprised to find the parking lot relatively empty, especially since the Chimneys and Alum Cave trailheads were overflowing with vehicles and people. Shortly into the hike we encountered a couple other hikers coming toward us very rapidly. They informed us that there were a couple bears up ahead in the middle of the trail munching on berries. We waited around for awhile and then started making lots of noise before we restarted our hike. As we rounded the bend we could hear sticks breaking just down the bank and some small trees moving. So, our noises must have worked because we never actually saw the bears and so we continued on. It was in the low 70's and overcast all day, making for a very comfortable hike. Once we arrived at our destination we sat down for lunch and to take in the views. Looking at the barren almost sheer slopes, one could almost imagine how this landscape was formed by a raging fire and flashflood that scalped the surface of all vegetation and soil. This hike is one I look forward to making again, maybe on a low humidity very clear day. The views would be even more spectacular.

View from the AT

Lots of flowers along the way

Cool Looking View

1 comment:

David Knapp said...

Great pictures! That is a hike I've been wanting to do but just haven't got around to it've inspired me though so I might have to do it the next time I'm up there...

19" Clinch River Brown