Saturday, June 18, 2011

Townsend, TN (The Smokies)

As I mentioned in the previous blog, I ended up spending some time in Townsend, TN.  If you know Great Smoky Mountain National Park, Townsend is close to Cades Cove.  It’s called the quiet side of the Smokies. And it is, if you compare it to Gatlinburg and Pigeon Forge. 

I hiked my favorite trail, the Cucumber Gap loop close to Elkmont.  One of my favorite parts of this trail is the first couple of miles beside the river.


Since I have visited this area many times, I promised myself that I would hike a place or 2 that I had never hiked before.  The first new place was the Walker homestead.  I learned that when this area first became a national park  (late 1930’s) the government bought the land from people who lived in the area and many moved.  But for those who didn’t, they leased the land back from the government and they could do so for their lifetime.  Apparently many people who leased the land eventually moved because their way of life had been taken from them.  They could no longer hunt and many small businesses closed.  But the Walker sisters decided to stay and were there until the last sister died in 1964. 

At the beginning of the trail is the Little Greenbrier School.  This school was built in 1882 and used until 1936.

Another of my favorite hikes is Abrams Falls.  I believe I have blogged about this trail in the past.   The problem with this hike is the trailhead is in Cades Cove so you may have to fight the traffic on the one-way scenic loop.  And what did I see when I got there this time-

It was closed.  I later learned that this trail had a lot of damage from a hurricane a few weeks before.  But I did get to see some bears not too far from the drive on Cades Cove. 

In most pictures they were walking away from me. 

Another of my “new to me” hikes was Alum Cave Bluffs.  I wasn’t sure how far I would go up the trail.  I think it was listed as a moderately difficult trail up to the Alum Cave Bluff, but someone had warned me that there were some areas that were a bit scary.  I ended up turning around shortly after Arch Rock.  I didn’t quite make it to the Bluffs.  I have been asked about hiking alone and part of my answer is I know my limits.  This trail wasn’t the most difficult I have been on, but it had rained recently and part of the trail was on rock – some smooth (and slippery) and some very jagged.  After a while of walking very carefully I decided I needed to try this trail again when it wasn’t so wet.

But the arch was neat. 

The stairs thru the arch were very steep and slick, but I went for it – just very slow!

Another trail that I hiked was Laurel Falls.  This is a very popular trail, it’s paved most of the way.

My mom drove up and meet me one day in Sevierville, TN.  We went to the Applewood Farmhouse for lunch and then did some shopping at the outlet stores in Sevierville.  

From Townsend, I headed to Jamestown, TN which is close to Big South Fork National River and Recreation Area.  I had been in this area before, but only for a day or so and saw enough to know I wanted to go back.  My next blog will be about Jamestown and the surrounding area. 

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