Where In The World Is Bulldog?

So, “007” used some of his masterful intelligence skills picked up in his service to The Crown on the other side of the pond and found Loonie, her sister and I a room in Maggie Valley so the girls can go off and do somethin’ or another.   You’re probably wondering where Loonie’s sister came into all this but for now just stick with me.  I will miss “007”.  He’s a bit younger than me, done a fair amount of traveling and shares that same sense of wanderlust I’ve always had.  Always looking over maps, wants to see what’s around the next corner or over the next hill.  I could tell how quickly the Appalachians had grown on him…even being so far from home.  He was in the middle of a major transition in life and thought it was time for another adventure.  He did some homework and decided to come to the States and do the AT.  Our paths have crossed three times now in two weeks.  Very cool guy!  You can check him out at FromGranthamToMaine.  And you gotta admit, he’s got the coolest trail name out there!

"007" and Bulldog

“007” and Bulldog

Anyway, I’ll once again pick up where I left off on mine and Loonie’s trip on the AT last week.

Day Four:

Last day on the trail for this trip and another beautiful day too.  We hit an excellent pocket of weather…maybe even a bit too warm.  And now I’m noticing my ears, neck, arms and hands are burnt from all the exposure.   Left the wide – brimmed hat at home, didn’t wear long sleeves or gloves or use sun block.  Not smart.   I’m noticing, too, that I’m starting to get really “funky” and maybe it’s time for a shower.

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I love my dear wife and, while she hadn’t said anything yet, I’m wanting to make myself presentable again.

We pack up and have breakfast while speaking with an older couple who are about to hit the trail as well.   When they finish their hike today they will become “900 Milers”, meaning they will have hiked every mile of every trail in the park.  Amazing.  I happen to notice that it looks like he’s getting particularly anxious, like I, to start hiking and then I overhear him say “Pack WHILE you talk Dear”, really putting an emphasis on the word “WHILE”.  I thought to myself “That’s Loonie and I!”

Any who, we did finally wrap things up and hit the trail.  Our destination was the van down at the ranger station at Cades Cove so we headed down Bote Mountain Trail, which offered up a lot of chunky rock but it got better as we descended.

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Loonie on the Bote Mountain Trail

We saw some Dutchman Breeches as well, a first for us.

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Dutchman Breeches

Took a break at the junction with the Anthony Creek Trail, had a snack, and took care of some “business” that could no longer wait the short time left to Cades Cove.  That turned out to be quite the adventure but I’ll spare you the details.  Let’s just say the only log I could find was so high in the air that it was like riding a swing.

Moving on.  The last leg of the trip was along Anthony Creek and it turned out to be a very pretty hike.  Lots of little cascades and foot bridges.

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The wildflowers were really putting on a show too, including various trillium, wild geraniums, dwarf iris and showy orchids.

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Wake Robbin Trillium

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Wild Geranium

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Dwarf Crested Iris

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Showy Orchids

Made it back to the ranger station in Cades Cove mid-afternoon and celebrated the great hike with two large waffle cones from the store.

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We wrapped up the day with a drive around the loop of the Cove.  One momma bear and two cubs but so far off in the distance that we couldn’t get any pics.  Headed to the resort, got cleaned up, had some pizza and hit the sack.  Another amazing adventure!

More to come …

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