It would make more sense for me to forego making any declarations as to what our upcoming trip plans are. Those plans always seem to fall by the wayside and we wind up doing something quite different. We postponed the Buffalo River Trail trek once more and will make our way back to GSMNP. Excruciatingly long drive aside, there’s something about the place that keeps pulling me back. In a sense it feels like returning home. Maybe it’s just that there are “rooms” in the house that I haven’t set foot in yet!
That in mind, we figured we would leave the raging hordes in Gatlinburg and the most heavily visited parts of the park to fight amongst themselves and head for somewhere a bit remote. Balsam Mountain would qualify. Deep Woods and I stayed at Laurel Gap shelter on Balsam Mountain back in 2013 and I thought the area was beautiful. From there he and I would proceed up Sterling Ridge but I have always wanted to return and make the trek up to the AT from Balsam Corner. The Little Brown Book makes it sound as though this is a nice stretch of trail. Time to find out.
Beyond that, there won’t be much new tread for myself. Loonie, on the other hand, will get a chance to do a nice stretch of the AT through the park that she hasn’t walked before. Mt Cammerer lookout tower will be a new stop for her and returns to Big Creek and Cataloochee Valley will be the icing on the cake. Now it’s a question of whether or not we’ll catch the Fall colors at their peak. She and I scored BIG TIME in that respect years ago. As an example, the featured pic is from that trip. Gorgeous! Can we get so lucky again?
True to Bulldog and Loonie form, it will be yet another VERY slow stroll. And that’s ok. We have no interest whatsoever in pushing big miles. The trail we expect to cover over the course of the trip….
First couple of nights will likely be pretty cold but otherwise the forecast is looking fantastic. Stay tuned.
More to come…