Trail Reports

Halloween at Max Patch – A Photo Essay

Posted by on Nov 4, 2018 @ 9:38 am in Appalachian Trail, Hiking, Hiking Blog, North Carolina, Photo Essays, Pisgah National Forest, Vista Hikes | 0 comments

Halloween at Max Patch – A Photo Essay

Few places in the Southern Appalachians are more scenic than Max Patch along the Appalachian Trail on the state line between North Carolina and Tennessee. Even more so when the magic of Fall coloring surrounds the mountaintop. You can see my complete trail report for Max Patch and Buckeye Ridge, and learn about an unexpected adventure I had a few years ago on my first visit. This time, rather than going straight up to the top, I took the path that goes around the mountain, then ascends the Summit Trail from the west side. It takes a little...

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The Year That Fall Never Arrived – A Photo Essay

Posted by on Oct 13, 2018 @ 11:15 am in Great Smoky Mountains National Park, Hiking, Hiking Blog, North Carolina, Photo Essays | 0 comments

The Year That Fall Never Arrived – A Photo Essay

Like a child anticipating Christmas, this year has had us waiting… waiting… waiting for the leaf peeping season to begin. Combine a very wet summer with a September where the warmth never ended, and it’s like the year that fall never arrived. This day, October 12, 2018, was the first day all autumn where the overnight temperature dropped into the forties. Unheard of. The trees don’t know how to react. The hummingbirds and butterflies don’t know whether to migrate. The tourists who regularly come to cruise the...

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Gabes Mountain Trail to Hen Wallow Falls, Great Smoky Mountains National Park

Posted by on Aug 15, 2018 @ 4:37 pm in Forest Hikes, Great Smoky Mountains National Park, Hiking, Hiking Blog, Rated Moderate Hikes, Tennessee, Water Hikes | 0 comments

Gabes Mountain Trail to Hen Wallow Falls, Great Smoky Mountains National Park

The Cosby section of the Smokies park is mostly known for its long, arduous treks to high country destinations like Mt. Cammerer and Inadu Knob. But there is another trail there that is more moderate in difficulty. A good day hike on Gabes Mountain Trail is the 4-mile round trip to Hen Wallow Falls, a 90-foot, multi-tiered cascade. This is cool, dense forest, some of it old growth, that is nourished by creeks reaching like fingers down the slopes of the Great Smoky Mountains. I hiked the Gabes Mountain Trail to Hen Wallow Falls on Monday,...

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A Day with the Azaleas at Andrews Bald – A Photo Essay

Posted by on Aug 6, 2018 @ 7:12 am in Forest Hikes, Great Smoky Mountains National Park, Hiking, Hiking Blog, North Carolina, Photo Essays | 0 comments

A Day with the Azaleas at Andrews Bald – A Photo Essay

Andrews Bald is the highest bald in the Smokies, standing just under 6,000 feet. Every year in the month of June, the flame azalea and rhododendron show arrives for all those willing to hike a couple miles to see. You start at Clingmans Dome and take the Forney Ridge Trail to reach Andrews Bald. Here is a complete trail report that describes the hike. In addition to the heath flowerings at Andrews and an abundance of blackberries and raspberries later in the season, Andrews Bald is also known for one of the mysterious disappearances within...

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Whitaker Point Trail to Hawksbill Crag, Ozark National Forest

Posted by on Aug 2, 2018 @ 10:53 am in Arkansas, Forest Hikes, Hiking, Hiking Blog, Ozark National Forest, Rated Easy Hikes | 0 comments

Whitaker Point Trail to Hawksbill Crag, Ozark National Forest

The hike on Whitaker Point Trail to Hawksbill Crag is one of the most popular in Arkansas. Aside from the remarkable views of the Buffalo River Gorge, it’s a nice, easy four-season hike that offers wildflowers in spring and summer, and the bright crimson and gold leaves of fall. It takes a little work to get to due to the very remote nature of the location, but once found it is likely to draw you back again and again. I hiked the Whitaker Point Trail on Friday, June 8, 2018 beginning at 8:00AM and finishing about 10:00AM. My plan was to...

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Gore Creek Trail, White River National Forest

Posted by on Jul 29, 2018 @ 11:04 am in Colorado, Eagles Nest Wilderness, Forest Hikes, Hiking, Hiking Blog, Rated Moderate Hikes, White River National Forest | 0 comments

Gore Creek Trail, White River National Forest

This trail climbs from East Vail into Eagles Nest Wilderness alongside Gore Creek. There are some short steep sections that wind through meadows and aspen groves which change to spruce-fir stands as the elevation increases. Also look for a wide variety of wildflowers in season. Particularly during spring runoff, Gore Creek rages down the drainage with its series of fast moving cascades. A short hike along the creek can provide pleasant picnic spots or great fishing opportunities. My brother Dave and I hiked the lower Gore Creek Trail on...

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Cassidy Arch Trail, Capitol Reef National Park

Posted by on Jul 24, 2018 @ 11:17 am in Capitol Reef National Park, Hiking, Hiking Blog, Rated Difficult Hikes, Utah, Vista Hikes | 0 comments

Cassidy Arch Trail, Capitol Reef National Park

Named for Butch Cassidy, the late-19th century western outlaw who hung out in these parts, Cassidy Arch stands on a precipice overlooking the Grand Wash in Capitol Reef. Cassidy Arch Trail climbs 670 feet from the wash to a slickrock bench high above the canyon. Iconic landmarks like Capitol Dome are visible along the trail that hangs on the canyon ledge. Better wear your sturdiest boots for this hike. The terrain is rocky and rugged and just waiting for you to take a misstep. My brother Dave and I hiked the Cassidy Arch Trail on Monday, June...

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Being a Tourist at Bryce Canyon National Park – A Photo Essay

Posted by on Jul 22, 2018 @ 5:10 pm in Bryce Canyon National Park, Hiking, Hiking Blog, Photo Essays, Utah | 0 comments

Being a Tourist at Bryce Canyon National Park – A Photo Essay

The mornings were spent hiking at Bryce Canyon, but the afternoons and evenings we played tourist just like thousands of others. We rode the shuttle. We checked out all the overlooks. We oohed and aahed. We took lots of pictures. The first three miles inside the park is where you will find Bryce Amphitheater. The most iconic — but also most popular — views are found along the canyon rim here. Bryce Point, Inspiration Point, Sunrise and Sunset Points all have breathtaking viewing of the hoodoos that populate the amphitheater. We...

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Swamp Canyon Trail, Bryce Canyon Wilderness

Posted by on Jul 20, 2018 @ 12:00 pm in Bryce Canyon National Park, Forest Hikes, Hiking, Hiking Blog, Rated Moderate Hikes, Utah | 0 comments

Swamp Canyon Trail, Bryce Canyon Wilderness

You can’t really tell from the overlook, but there’s a lot to like down in Swamp Canyon. For one, this is part of Bryce Canyon Wilderness, so it is definitely less crowded than the majority of the national park. There are great views of Wightman Bench and Swamp Canyon Butte from down in the canyon. Wildflowers and wildlife are abundant during the green seasons. For a quiet adventure off the beaten path, give Swamp Canyon a try. My brother Dave and I hiked the Swamp Canyon Trail on Sunday, June 3, 2018 beginning at 1:00PM and...

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Bristlecone Loop Trail, Bryce Canyon National Park

Posted by on Jul 18, 2018 @ 6:38 am in Bryce Canyon National Park, Hiking, Hiking Blog, Rated Easy Hikes, Utah, Vista Hikes | 0 comments

Bristlecone Loop Trail, Bryce Canyon National Park

Bristlecone Loop, accessible from Rainbow Point at the southern-most end of Bryce Canyon National Park, meanders through a spruce-fir forest atop the highest portion of the park, reaching elevations over 9,100 feet. This short and easy stroll passes by bristlecone pines up to 1,800-years-old and experiences vistas reaching into Dixie National Forest and Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument. While still popular, this far end of the park is not nearly as crowded as the primary amphitheater area, but no less beautiful. My brother Dave and...

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Queens Garden Trail, Bryce Canyon National Park

Posted by on Jul 15, 2018 @ 11:35 am in Bryce Canyon National Park, Canyon Hikes, Hiking, Hiking Blog, Rated Moderate Hikes, Utah, Vista Hikes | 0 comments

Queens Garden Trail, Bryce Canyon National Park

Golden hour is special for any place with picturesque scenic beauty, especially if you also happen to like photography. There aren’t many places more stunning during the golden hour — that time right after sunrise and right before sunset — than Bryce Canyon. There are even viewpoints named for these wonderful times… Sunrise Point and Sunset Point. So how about a trail that goes from one to the other while also diving down amidst the wondrous hoodoos and pine forest that give Bryce Canyon its majesty and character? That...

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Mossy Cave Trail, Bryce Canyon National Park

Posted by on Jul 13, 2018 @ 9:55 am in Bryce Canyon National Park, Canyon Hikes, Hiking, Hiking Blog, Rated Easy Hikes, Utah | 0 comments

Mossy Cave Trail, Bryce Canyon National Park

Arriving at Bryce Canyon mid-afternoon, Dave and I headed for the short Mossy Cave Trail to get our feet wet among the majestic hoodoos. This trail actually begins outside the park at the far northern reaches, then enters the park boundary on foot. The trail is a streamside walk up to a mossy overhang and small waterfall. Mossy Cave isn’t a cavern, but is a grotto, created by an underground spring. We hiked to Mossy Cave on Saturday, June 2, 2018 beginning at 3:00PM and finishing about 4:00PM. Our plan was to explore this northern...

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Snowy Range Scenic Byway, Medicine Bow National Forest – A Photo Essay

Posted by on Jul 8, 2018 @ 11:38 am in Hiking, Hiking Blog, Medicine Bow National Forest, Photo Essays, Wyoming | 0 comments

Snowy Range Scenic Byway, Medicine Bow National Forest – A Photo Essay

The Snowy Range Scenic Byway crosses the Medicine Bow Mountain Range and includes nearly 30 miles of the Medicine Bow-Routt National Forest portion of Wyoming Highway 130. It passes between the towns of Centennial and Saratoga, but it’s what is in between that is spectacular. Originally a wagon road built in the 1870s, the road was paved in the 1930s and designated as the nation’s second Scenic Byway in 1988. Snow usually closes the highest section of the road early to mid-November and snowplows traditionally open the road in May right...

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Devils Tower National Monument – A Photo Essay

Posted by on Jul 6, 2018 @ 11:41 am in Black Hills National Forest, Forest Hikes, Hiking, Hiking Blog, Inspiration, Photo Essays, Wyoming | 0 comments

Devils Tower National Monument – A Photo Essay

Devils Tower, an important landmark for Plains Indians tribes long before the white man reached Wyoming, was called Mateo Tepee or Grizzly Bear Lodge by the Sioux. A number of legends describe the origin of Devils Tower. “One legend tells of seven little girls being chased onto a low rock to escape attacking bears. Their prayers for help were heeded as the rock carried them upward to safety. The claws of the leaping bears left furrowed columns in the sides of the ascending tower. Ultimately, the rock grew so high that the girls reached...

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Castle Trail and Medicine Root Loop, Badlands National Park

Posted by on Jul 4, 2018 @ 11:50 am in Badlands National Park, Hiking, Hiking Blog, Rated Easy Hikes, South Dakota, Vista Hikes | 0 comments

Castle Trail and Medicine Root Loop, Badlands National Park

The Castle Trail is the longest in Badlands National Park, but can be broken up with three distinct trailheads. Medicine Root connects with Castle Trail at Saddle Pass and Old Northeast Road creating a loop of about five miles. The terrain is mixed grass prairie and arroyo, with views of the Badlands pinnacles throughout. Keep your eyes peeled for wildlife. It is abundant. Hope for a dry day when hiking in the Badlands. Mud is quick to form and very goopy. My brother Dave and I hiked this loop on Monday, May 28, 2018 beginning at 8:30AM and...

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Hell Canyon Trail, Black Hills National Forest

Posted by on Jul 1, 2018 @ 11:56 am in Black Hills National Forest, Canyon Hikes, Hiking, Hiking Blog, Rated Moderate Hikes, South Dakota, Vista Hikes | 0 comments

Hell Canyon Trail, Black Hills National Forest

I think of the Hell Canyon Trail in Black Hills National Forest, South Dakota as two hikes. There’s the stroll through the canyon with lush trees and bushes and a wide assortment of colorful wildflowers. Then, there’s the path along the canyon rim that exposes the devastation of the 2000 Jasper Fire, the largest in Black Hills history. The undergrowth is recovering nicely from the wildfire, but the trees may be gone for a century or more. One can only imagine the beauty that must have once existed here. My brother Dave and I hiked...

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Cathedral Spires to Black Elk Peak, Black Elk Wilderness

Posted by on Jun 27, 2018 @ 11:03 am in Black Hills National Forest, Forest Hikes, Hiking, Hiking Blog, Rated Difficult Hikes, South Dakota, Vista Hikes | 0 comments

Cathedral Spires to Black Elk Peak, Black Elk Wilderness

This is the hard way to get to the summit of 7,242′ Black Elk Peak, the highest in South Dakota. But, it affords you the opportunity to hike through the incredible Cathedral Spires, massive granite pinnacles that dominate the landscape in the Black Hills National Forest. Between the spires and the summit you pass through the rugged Black Elk Wilderness, named for an Oglala Sioux holy man. Craggy peaks and rocky slopes mixed with ponderosa pine, spruce and fir trees make for a varied ecosystem. My brother Dave and I hiked this demanding...

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Mount Rushmore National Memorial – A Photo Essay

Posted by on Jun 25, 2018 @ 5:25 am in Hiking, Hiking Blog, Inspiration, Photo Essays, South Dakota | 0 comments

Mount Rushmore National Memorial – A Photo Essay

“Let us place there, carved high, as close to heaven as we can, the words of our leaders, their faces, to show posterity what manner of men they were. Then breathe a prayer that these records will endure until the wind and the rain alone shall wear them away.” — Sculptor Gutzon Borglum America’s presidential history is alive in stone. Majestic figures of George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Theodore Roosevelt and Abraham Lincoln, surrounded by the beauty of the Black Hills of South Dakota, tell the story of the birth,...

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Centennial and Lookout Point Trails, Wind Cave National Park

Posted by on Jun 23, 2018 @ 11:23 am in Canyon Hikes, Hiking, Hiking Blog, Rated Moderate Hikes, South Dakota, Vista Hikes, Wind Cave National Park | 0 comments

Centennial and Lookout Point Trails, Wind Cave National Park

This hike in the heart of Wind Cave National Park combines two trails to make a 5-mile loop, and the two couldn’t be any more different. Centennial Trail takes you through lush meadows, and a rocky canyon lined with pine, while Lookout Point Trail experiences the wide open spaces of the South Dakotan prairie. Centennial follows the path of Beaver Creek through the canyon. Then, watch for wildlife on Lookout Point trail including prairie dogs, bison and pronghorn. My brother Dave and I hiked this combined loop on Friday, May 25, 2018...

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Needles Highway at Custer State Park, SD – A Photo Essay

Posted by on Jun 21, 2018 @ 3:36 pm in Hiking, Hiking Blog, Photo Essays, South Dakota | 0 comments

Needles Highway at Custer State Park, SD – A Photo Essay

The Needles Highway in western South Dakota’s Custer State Park is more than a 14-mile road — it’s a spectacular drive through pine and spruce forests, meadows surrounded by birch and aspen with fields of bright wildflowers, and rugged, almost other-worldly, granite mountains. The road’s name comes from the needle-like granite formations which seem to pierce the horizon along the highway. Allocate plenty of time to enjoy this roadway. Needles Highway is best enjoyed at a slower pace. Take your time. I can assure you...

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Boland Ridge Trail, Wind Cave National Park

Posted by on Jun 19, 2018 @ 5:41 am in Hiking, Hiking Blog, Rated Moderate Hikes, South Dakota, Vista Hikes, Wind Cave National Park | 0 comments

Boland Ridge Trail, Wind Cave National Park

Located in the remote northern corner of Wind Cave National Park, Boland Ridge Trail crosses the wide open prairie, then a series of ridge climbs offer panoramic views of the Black Hills, the Red Valley, and the western South Dakota plains beyond. Because of the isolated nature, elk and bison are often seen along this trail. In fact, we had to cut this one about a mile short because of bison on the trail. My brother Dave and I hiked Boland Ridge Trail on Thursday, May 24, 2018 beginning about 10:00AM and finishing at 12:30PM. Our plan was to...

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Rankin Ridge Nature Trail, Wind Cave National Park

Posted by on Jun 17, 2018 @ 4:36 am in Hiking, Hiking Blog, Rated Easy Hikes, South Dakota, Vista Hikes, Wind Cave National Park | 0 comments

Rankin Ridge Nature Trail, Wind Cave National Park

When you’re looking to get a good overview of the “above ground” features of Wind Cave National Park, what better way than to climb to the highest point. Fortunately, that’s easy to do with the Rankin Ridge Nature Trail. This one-mile loop takes you to an old retired fire tower with views into the Black Hills and as far away as The Badlands. Watch for wildlife and wildflowers along the way. My brother Dave and I hiked Rankin Ridge Trail on Thursday, May 24, 2018 beginning about 8:30AM and finishing at 9:15AM. This was...

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Return to Badlands National Park 50 Years Later – A Photo Essay

Posted by on Jun 15, 2018 @ 9:02 am in Badlands National Park, Hiking, Hiking Blog, Photo Essays, South Dakota | 0 comments

Return to Badlands National Park 50 Years Later – A Photo Essay

Back in the 1960’s when I was in my mid-teens, my family took a cross-country western vacation that included stops at many of the scenic and picturesque national parks along the way. Included among those was Badlands National Park, the first stop on our trip. I remembered all my adult life the fascination I had with the Badlands, and promised myself I would return some day when I was better able to appreciate what I was seeing. It took 50 years, but I made it. The welcome wasn’t particularly pleasant as we encountered flash...

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Notch Trail, Door Trail, Window Trail, Badlands National Park

Posted by on Jun 13, 2018 @ 8:59 am in Badlands National Park, Canyon Hikes, Hiking, Hiking Blog, Rated Easy Hikes, Rated Moderate Hikes, South Dakota | 0 comments

Notch Trail, Door Trail, Window Trail, Badlands National Park

There are three short trails that share the same trailhead on the far eastern section of Badlands National Park. The Window and Door Trails are boardwalks that explore the spires and buttes of the Badlands Wall. Notch Trail passes through the Wall and offers a great view of the White River Valley. There is even a fun rope ladder that takes you to the canyon rim as you head to the “Notch.” Some of the best views of The Badlands can be found on these short trails. My brother Dave and I hiked Notch Trail on Wednesday, May 23, 2018,...

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Castle Trail to Saddle Pass, Badlands National Park

Posted by on Jun 11, 2018 @ 1:26 pm in Badlands National Park, Hiking, Hiking Blog, Rated Easy Hikes, South Dakota, Vista Hikes | 0 comments

Castle Trail to Saddle Pass, Badlands National Park

Our evening arrival to Badlands National Park coincided with a torrential storm that brought rain, wind and hail to the region. We learned the next morning that the campground was flooded, as was every arroyo in the park. We soon learned that the soft clay of the Badlands terrain does not mix well with lots of rain. Think quicksand — you sink inches with each step — thick, goopy mud that sticks to your shoes like glue. My brother Dave and I attempted to hike the Saddle Pass Trail to join the Castle Trail at Badlands on Wednesday,...

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May Day Flowering at Pisgah National Forest – A Photo Essay

Posted by on May 5, 2018 @ 11:18 am in Forest Hikes, Hiking, Hiking Blog, North Carolina, Photo Essays, Pisgah National Forest | 0 comments

May Day Flowering at Pisgah National Forest – A Photo Essay

What better way to spend May Day than wildflower hunting on Pisgah National Forest? We always think of the national park in the Smokies as being the go-to destination for Spring wildflowers in Western North Carolina. However, Pisgah National Forest is right up there. As you will see from the gallery below, there is quite the wide variety. I picked two destinations in the Pisgah Ranger District: Daniel Ridge Trail following the Daniel Ridge Creek, and the Andy Cove Nature Trail at the district Visitor Center. I was not disappointed at either...

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Cruisin’ Little River Road for Wildflowers – A Photo Essay

Posted by on Apr 23, 2018 @ 6:25 pm in Great Smoky Mountains National Park, Hiking, Hiking Blog, Photo Essays, Tennessee | 0 comments

Cruisin’ Little River Road for Wildflowers – A Photo Essay

What to do if you’ve got half a day to kill on the Tennessee side of the Smokies? Well, if it’s April, the obvious conclusion is a wildflower hunt along Little River Road between Sugarlands and the Townsend-Y. On Saturday, April 21st, I had an invitation to the annual Great Smoky Mountains National Park Volunteers Appreciation Banquet, but it wasn’t to begin until 6:00 PM. So I planned to arrive in the morning and spend the day exploring various of the dozens of quiet nature trails looking for Spring wildflowers, and...

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Bradley Fork and Cabin Flats Trails, Great Smoky Mountains National Park

Posted by on Apr 10, 2018 @ 6:08 am in Forest Hikes, Great Smoky Mountains National Park, Hiking, Hiking Blog, North Carolina, Rated Moderate Hikes, Water Hikes | 0 comments

Bradley Fork and Cabin Flats Trails, Great Smoky Mountains National Park

This is one of my new favorite Spring wildflower hikes in the Smokies. The flowers are brilliant along both the Bradley Fork and Cabin Flats Trails. The Smokemont region of the Smokies is one of the most convenient, located just a short few miles northwest of the Oconaluftee Visitor Center off Hwy 441. It is four miles up Bradley Fork to Cabin Flats Trail, then another 1.1 miles to campground 49 at Cabin Flats. All the while the sounds of the stream will be your constant companion. I hiked this section of the national park on Friday, April 6,...

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Pinnacle Mountain Trail and Ridge Trail, Table Rock State Park, SC

Posted by on Dec 23, 2017 @ 6:52 am in Forest Hikes, Hiking, Hiking Blog, Rated Difficult Hikes, South Carolina, Vista Hikes | 0 comments

Pinnacle Mountain Trail and Ridge Trail, Table Rock State Park, SC

This park sits right on the cliff’s edge of the Blue Ridge Escarpment that drops down from the mountains in western North Carolina to the upcountry of South Carolina. The park is more than 3,000 acres of trails, lakes, cabins and camping. Pinnacle Mountain Trail is the most challenging within the park, with a climb that exceeds 2,300 feet. The lower section follows Carrick Creek, while the upper levels offer fantastic views into the South Carolina Upstate, with massive rock outcroppings along the way. Ken and I hiked Pinnacle Mountain at...

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Playing in the Snow at Roan – A Photo Essay

Posted by on Dec 12, 2017 @ 8:33 am in Hiking, Hiking Blog, North Carolina, Photo Essays, Pisgah National Forest, Roan Highlands, Tennessee | 0 comments

Playing in the Snow at Roan – A Photo Essay

There was a major snowstorm over the Great Smoky Mountains on December 8-9, 2017, particularly on the Western North Carolina side. Seeing Roan Highlands covered in a blanket of snow has always been a goal of mine ever since the first time I walked the Appalachian Trail across Round, Jane, and Grassy Ridge balds. With that in mind, I set out for the Highlands on the morning of December 10th. I was not disappointed. To be honest, it couldn’t have worked out better. The road crews had done a fabulous job of clearing all the back country...

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Natural Bridge and Raven Rock Trails, Keowee Toxaway State Park, South Carolina

Posted by on Dec 9, 2017 @ 2:19 pm in Forest Hikes, Hiking, Hiking Blog, Rated Moderate Hikes, South Carolina | 1 comment

Natural Bridge and Raven Rock Trails, Keowee Toxaway State Park, South Carolina

Another of the fun and exciting South Carolina state parks that line the Cherokee Foothills Scenic Highway, Keowee Toxaway offers two hiking trails that take visitors over a natural bridge and through the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains, land once traveled by Cherokee Indians. Much of the trail follows the shore of Lake Keowee through the healthy oak/hickory forest that surrounds it. The trail’s namesakes are interesting features, but the highlights of this hike are the terrain and the views. I hiked Natural Bridge and Raven Rock...

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Oakridge Trail, Congaree National Park

Posted by on Dec 3, 2017 @ 11:44 am in Congaree National Park, Forest Hikes, Hiking, Hiking Blog, Rated Easy Hikes, South Carolina, Water Hikes | 1 comment

Oakridge Trail, Congaree National Park

Congaree National Park, located in the heart of South Carolina, is a land of towering trees, of floods and fire, of woodland paths and water trails used by people for more than 10,000 years. This rare, old growth forest became a national park in 1976. These ancient trees have witnessed wars, slavery, freedom, and destruction. There are 25 miles of hiking trails in Congaree, including Oakridge. Passing through a rich stretch of old growth forest, along the way you will cross a number of sloughs, or small creeks that carry floodwaters into and...

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Old Sugarlands Trail, Great Smoky Mountains National Park

Posted by on Nov 20, 2017 @ 11:07 am in Forest Hikes, Great Smoky Mountains National Park, Hiking, Hiking Blog, Rated Moderate Hikes, Tennessee | 1 comment

Old Sugarlands Trail, Great Smoky Mountains National Park

One of the more enjoyable trails I have hiked recently in the Smokies, Old Sugarlands follows West Prong of Little Pigeon River for a mile and a half, then turns to the east and ascends the western flank of the LeConte Ridge another 2.4 miles to a pastoral setting known as Cherokee Orchard. This trail receives surprisingly little use despite being surrounded by a hub of activity at Sugarlands Visitor Center and Park Headquarters. Once you reach the top, you can extend the hike 1.8 miles round trip with a visit to historic Bud Ogle Cabin, or...

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In Search of Fall Color in the Smokies – A Photo Essay

Posted by on Oct 26, 2017 @ 7:19 am in Great Smoky Mountains National Park, Hiking, Hiking Blog, Photo Essays, Tennessee | 2 comments

In Search of Fall Color in the Smokies – A Photo Essay

There is no denying 2017 has been a disappointing year for fall foliage in the Smokies — so far. That’s why I titled this essay In Search of… you really have to look hard to find much beyond a few patches of yellow. The oranges and reds have been nonexistent. I started the day before dawn from Cades Cove driving toward Gatlinburg on Little River Road, where I turned onto Newfound Gap Road for a climb up into the Tennessee Smokies. First stop was Maloney Point where the sun was casting light above the ridges, but had not yet...

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