Friday, November 25, 2011

Thanksgiving Hike

Hope everyone had a great holiday :-)
We woke up to a foggy, cold morning.

We took a Thanksgiving hike on Brushy Mountain Trail. We had done the summit before from the other side, and have hiked the lower/mid portions multiple times but I've been wanting to complete Brushy Mtn to Trillum Gap for a while and finally had the chance yesterday.
Started out on Porters Creek Trail at 11:30am, quite a few others were out enjoying the Smokies on a holiday morning.

Always have to stop by the old hiking cabin when passing by.....

The hike was quiet and mostly uneventful. Recent rain and a bit of horse traffic had made some muddy spots in the trail. Coupled with deep leaves and slick rocks, constant alertness was vital. We kept a rapid pace so were alternately sweaty then cold as we wove in-and-out between shady hollows and sunny ridges, pushing ever upwards.

View of Greenbrier Pinnacle through trees and tangle of grapevines. I want to get back up there again sometime this season.

1st crossing of Trillium Branch. Heavy rain a couple days before had waters running higher than usual, but had subsided enough to allow a doable rock-hop. We did see a handful of kayakers running the Little Pigeon River as we drove in, river was still flowing pretty high down there.

This tree disapproves.

I think he may be related to Plankton.

Three hikers coming down from Mt. LeConte passed by. This is the only time we've ever seen anyone on this trail.

Second crossing of Trillium Branch, a nice little cascade here and a quick leap across the water.

Almost there...... relentless pace continues.....

Trillium Gap, at last, in 2 hours 40 minutes. From the Porter's Creek parking lot to Trillium Gap the elevation gain is around 2,700ft. Arrived at 2:10pm to complete silence. The lodge is closed for the season now, so way less foot traffic. It was boisterously loud when last we were at this gap via Trillium Gap Trail, lots of hikers were passing thru then.


We briefly debated continuing on to the Brushy Mtn summit (which btw is 0.4mi not 0.2mi) but decided against it. Safer not to push too close to sunset, especially since it was much colder up there and we had hoodies and not jackets plus were already tired. Back down we went.

Arrived at the parking lot at 4:15pm, still quite a few cars were there.

Back in Pigeon Forge, we saw this homemade 3-wheel-madmax-motorcycle-dunebuggy-2-seater-thingy.

Happy Thanksgiving!

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