Monday, June 10, 2013

Andrews Bald & Clingmans Dome

hike to andrews bald hike to andrews bald 
This was our third visit to Andrews Bald. It's a short hike (just under four miles altogether) but there's a decent elevation change and, if you start at the Clingmans Dome parking area, like we do, all the climbing is on the return trip. The weather was nice but overcast and my pictures of the bald itself are a little dim, which is why I'm sharing pictures from the Forney Ridge Trail instead. I love that most of this hike is shaded. I really enjoy walking under the trees and through the ferns.
  clingman's domeclingman's dome 
I'd never done the half mile trek up to the Clingmans Dome Tower, which is a very popular attraction for tourists. The tower is really bizarre and wonderful. It doesn't look like any of the other structures in the park - it looks more like something out of The Jetsons. The walk up to it, via a spiraling ramp, if fun and surreal, especially when it's foggy (and it's almost always foggy at this elevation).

Monday, June 3, 2013

Hello Again, Charlie's Bunion

hike to charlie's bunion hike to charlie's bunion hike to charlie's bunion One of my favorite hikes in the Smokies is the four mile trek along the Appalachian Trail from Newfound Gap to Charlie's Bunion. This past Saturday we made the hike for the third time and it was just as lovely as our last two visits. Most of our hikes this year have been on the easy side so it felt good to tackle something a little more difficult. Keeping our fingers crossed that the weekend weather continues to cooperate for the next few weeks, since it's almost time to visit the flame azaleas on Gregory Bald!