Thursday, October 8, 2009

Husky Gap Trail hike

A couple weeks ago we hiked out Huskey Gap Trail (HGT) in the Smokies. The leaves were just starting to turn and the feeling of fall was setting in, but still a bit warm and humid.

The trail begins along Newfound Gap road at about 1,800 ft and winds 2.0 miles upward along the side of Sugarland Mountain.

A break in the trees affords a beautiful view toward Gatlinburg.

Husky Gap, and the intersection with Sugarland Mountain Trail (SMT), as viewed from a nice sittin' log.
We've been here once before, via SMT from Fighting Creek Gap. But that's for another trail log.....

We turned left onto SMT, as our goal of the day was visiting 'old' backcountry campsite #21. Apparently the park is phasing it out for a 'new' #21, which is further along HGT toward Elkmont. The bear cables are still there.

At about 3,200 ft now and continuing a bit upward. More rhododendron at this elevation and fewer large trees.

Tunneling through a rhodo thicket.... becoming a bit rockier.

A few spots of intense red among mostly green and yellowing leaves.

After about 3/4-1 mile we reached the campsite. At first glance it seemed to be only one spot, but further investigation revealed additional sites uphill from the trail.

A small creek runs under this huge rock, and a fire ring is right under it as well.

On the way back to Husky Gap, we saw a young bear. I'd spotted a very dark shadow under a tree about 150 feet off the trail, and as we stood and contemplated it I saw this bear moving about 25 feet behind that. It moved along, crossed the trail in front of us about 75 feet away and headed downhill. Never did determine if the shadow was one as well....
Here's a video of the bear:

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