Cherokee Hiking Club
198 Crews Drive, Benton, TN 37307
Smokies High Altitude Dayhike
Saturday, August 15, 2009
Brief Description: This difficult hike will take us from Clingman's Dome down the Appalachian Trail to the Sugarland Trail, then down to the manway to the Chimney's then out to the highway, a distance of about 10 miles.
Length: 10.3 miles
Difficulty Rating: Difficult
Elevation Gain: About 1000 feet in a couple of ascents, the rest is downhill
Hike Leader: Randy Morris, 338-9464 (h) by 9PM on Friday evening and Rick Harris (please contact Randy)
Directions to the Trailhead: We will leave from Ocoee at 7:30 AM or Etowah at 8 AM. For exact location of meeting points, contact Randy
Post Trip Report: We changed trails Friday afternoon (due to problems with the car shuttle for the Gregory Bald ascent) to a series of trails around Newfound Gap. We hiked just over 10 miles from Clingmans Dome, on the AT, down to the Sugarland Mountain Trail. Once on the Sugarland Mountain Trail we proceeded down the trail to a very challenging “manway” that allowed us to connect with the Chimney Tops trail just before the trail reaches the famous rock formations. From there, some of our more adventurous hikers became “mountain goats” and ascended the bluffs while the rest of us enjoyed the views from a safer altitude. After the “goats” successfully scampered down the rocks, we hiked out on the Chimney Tops Trail to the car we had placed earlier in the day to begin the car shuttle. Although car shuttles are often routine and boring, this was anything but….the drivers were entertained by a young bear alongside the Clingmans Dome Road and forced to drag down the hills behind a car who was happy going 10 mph (5 in curves!) while the rest of the crew watched a mother bear and two cubs cross the road at the Chimney Tops parking area. Throughout the day we enjoyed some great views in spots along the trail, a few nice wildflowers and tasty blackberries, and temperatures that were very nice for an August day. A nice dinner and fellowship at the Alamo Steakhouse in Pigeon Forge was a great capstone to a long and eventful day. Hikers were club members Don Bennett, Sunni Campbell, Brenda Harris, Sheri Stewart, Tom Waters, guest (but soon to be member) Laura Almazan and hike leaders Rick Harris and Randy Morris (reporting).
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