We hiked out to Abrams Falls in Great Smoky Mtns on July 4th. Hadn't been out there since what we refer to as "the night of the tornadoes" on April 27, when over 50 tornadoes touched down in east Tennessee, including a confirmed EF4 tornado that ripped through the western half of the National Park, impacting (and closing) about 30 miles of trails west of Cades Cove.
Abrams Falls Trail was one of those closed trails (signage photo from our May 3 visit to the trailhead) and it was the first to be re-opened, as it is a massively popular summertime hike for tourists and locals.
If you hadn't hiked to the falls before the storm, the change might not look too impressive, but we could really tell the difference in a few places. Definitely a lot of trees were downed, but the workers did a great job shifting debris and filling in the trail beds.
Where some of the largest uprooted trees created hot tub-sized holes in the trail, log retaining walls were built for stabilization and prevention of erosion.
Looking to the opposite ridge from our trail, out across the river gorge, you can see a path of damage through the forest.
Despite the areas of damage, Abrams Falls Trail is still a fine hike with some pretty scenery.
The Falls were, as always, a beautiful sight.
We arrived at 8:30 am after the 2.5 mile-hike and were the second ones there. On the way back, between the Falls and the trailhead, we passed exactly 100 people.
Now, let me say this:
For the Love of All That is Holy, people..... Trash in, Trash OUT. Leave No Trace.
The amount (and kind) of garbage we found there was a disgrace. Litter seems to be getting worse in general around the park, but I was especially disgusted at the state of affairs on this holiday weekend. Just be glad I didn't pan down in that Falls photo.