Cherokee Hiking Club
198 Crews Drive, Benton, TN 37307
Bob Bald Dayhike
Saturday, May 31, 2008
Brief Description: This moderate hike will take us from the Wolf-Laurel Trailhead up the Stratton Bald Trail to Stratton Bald, then over to Bob Bald where we will eat lunch. Then we will exit via the Fodderstack/Benton MacKaye Trail to Beach Gap. For those wishing a longer hike, we will take a side hike to Naked Ground, Haoe, and the Hangover. We will then finish our shuttle and go to the Harris's log home in the mountains for Cincinnati Chili.
Length: about 8-10 miles (10 miles for those who sidehike to Naked Ground/Haoe/Hangover)
Difficulty Rating: moderate due to the elevation rise
Elevation Gain: about 800 feet from the Wolf Laurel Trailhead at 4550' to Stratton Bald at 5336'
Hike Leader: Rick Harris, 423-253-6358, firstname.lastname@example.org
Trail Map Trail Map 2
Trailhead Access Map
Directions to the Trailhead: We will meet at the Tellico Plains Hardee's at 9AM, then do our shuttle, leaving cars at Beech Gap then taking the Santeelah Creek Road to the Wolf-Laurel Road up to the Wolf-Laurel Trailhead. After the hike, we will have to retrieve our cars at the Wolf-Laurel Trailhead, then go to the Harris home just a short ways off the Cherohala Skyway between milepost 9 and 10. There we will enjoy Cincinnati Chili, homemade by Brenda.
Trail Description: This trail is one of the most scenic to be found anywhere. From the Wolf-Laurel Trailhead, we will climb up Stratton Bald Ridge to the top of the mountain at 5336 feet. There is not much of a view at Stratton Bald, but we will go on down to the little bit lower Bob Bald at 5294 feet which is a big open field with 360 degree views of the surrounding Tennessee and NC mountains. We will eat lunch, then continue on down the Stratton Bald Trail west to its intersection with the Benton MacKaye/Fodderstack Trail, then head north to Beech Gap on the Cherohala Skyway at the state line. These trails in places are steep and in other places are in a rhododendrum thicket which as its name implies is "thick"... Though the total elevation gain is not all that much, about 800 feet, you will know at the end that you have been challenged. But the challenge is well worth it.
For those who wish a longer hike and if we have time, we may extend the hike a little to take a 2.6 mile round trip spur hike on the Haoe Lead trail out to Naked Ground, then out to the top of Haoe and on out to the Hangover. From the Naked Ground campsite, it is almost a sheer drop off for thousands of feet with grand vistas looking into NC. The Hangover is what its name implies, a rocky outcropping with full 360 degree views of the surrounding mountains. At the very end of the trail, there is a sheer drop off of several hundred feet, which is hanging over the bluffs a little bit. It makes you dizzy and it is a little scary. For those who take this spur hike, the trail drops about 500 feet to Naked Ground (elevation 4860') on a ridgeline trail, then climbs back up about 500 feet to Haoe, then down a couple hundred feet to the Hangover, which of course we must come back up to return to Stratton Bald. For those taking the longer hike, we will shorten it a little by coming out at Swan Cabin.
Post Trip Report: Joining us on this beautiful day of hiking were 9 hikers (Rick & Brenda Harris, Jim Runyan, James & Phyllis Anderson, Pam (Phyllis's friend), Mae Miles, Randy Morris, Donna Brandon, and the Harris' golden retriever Jake. For the after-hike Cincinnati Chili fest, we were also joined by Joy Runyan, Jane Bohannon and Esther Nunley. Jane and Esther went hiking on the Sycamore Creek trail for the day. The hike went as planned. We all started from the Wolf-Laurel Trailhead about 10:30 AM and hiked up the steep trail to the ridgeline between Naked Ground and Stratton Bald. Everyone decided to go on the long route, except for Brenda who wanted to get back early to get things ready for our Chili-fest. Brenda went left, to Bob Bald, where she ate lunch, then on out to her car at Beech Gap. The rest of us went right, to Naked Ground, Haoe, and the Hangover. We ate lunch at the Hangover. It was a beautiful day, cool and breezy up at the high elevation. The views from the Hangover and Naked Ground were incredible, though a little hazy. We met several other hikers on the trail. We then retraced out steps, hiked out to Bob Bald, where we lazied in the sunshine for a while, then came off the mountain down the old forest service road to the Swan Cabin. We had left a car there at the entrance road to the cabin site.
We then drove to the Harris's home where we all had a great meal of Donna's vegetarian antipasto stuffed bread, chips, pop, then the Cincinnati Chili and Brenda also had a pot of vegetarian chili. Mae brought coconut cream pie and Jane Bohannon brought sausage balls, both of which were scrumptious. (Click on links for recipes.) Overall it was a great time had by all.
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