Thursday, April 24, 2008

Wildflowers and Whup-a-Pain

Clocked 18.5 miles yesterday on a punishing loop in the Deep Creek area of Great Smoky Mountains National Park. The good news: the lower elevation areas of the park are blanketed in wildflowers.

Pole Creek Road, April 23, 2008

While the forests are brilliantly lit with dogwood blooms.

Noland Ridge, April 23, 2008

False Solomon's seal is about to bloom, but the trillium is already underway.

Trillium, April 23, 2008

And the stream crossings are always fun.

Crossing Deep Creek, April 23, 2008

The bad news: a coworker came into the office this morning, sat down for a moment, then got up, walked over to me, and asked to no one in particular, 'What's that smell?'

The smell is Whup-a-Pain, from the makers of Whup-a-Bug. Locally made, organic and very cool, it smells like a prettied up BenGay. And yes, it's working, but not fast enough.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Firechalice, Big Creek Trail, April 16, 2008

Zurs, Jan. 16, 2008


Mt. Cammerer Loop

Made the first big hike of the season last week. Started at 8 a.m. at the Big Creek Ranger Station and made a 17.5-mile loop using Chestnut Branch, the Appalachian Trail, Mt. Cammerer Trail, Low Gap and a return on Big Creek Trail past Mouse Creek Falls and finally the park road. Surprised to see a fair bit of snow up high -- mostly above 3,500 feet, and up to 6 inches at 5,000 feet. Snow was a delight for me but a complicating factor to northbound thru-hikers. Excited to see a wealth of flowers down low -- dogwoods, redbud, firechalice, phlox and more. Finished up by 3.30 and felt just fine -- a nice contrast from practically being hobbled after last week's 10 plus 6 mile backtoback hikes in the Pisgah.