Summer is the time when we do our harder hikes. You would think we would do hard hikes in cooler seasons, but when it might be hot in the lower elevations in Tennessee, it is cool in the Smokies. A few weeks ago we hiked to Chimney Top and Andrews Bald and before that we hiked to Gregory Bald, all in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. Last Thursday we did the 12 miles round trip to Mt. Cammerer. Linda and I had been there last November but 4 others had never been there.
It was near 90 in Knoxville, in the Smokies at almost 5000 feet elevation we were mostly in the 60s all day...a great day for hiking!
Six of us left Fairfield Glade at 5 am for the nearly 2.5 hour trip to the trailhead. All of the males but me dropped out for various reasons...injury, previous commitments, chicken, etc. Our group consisted of Karla, Linda, Erin, Ellen, Nancy, and me. Those are the girls in order on the lookout tower on top of Mt. Cammerer. As always, you can click on the photo for a bigger view.
Speaking of views, unfortunately the only view from the tower this day was about 30 feet instead of 80 miles. The mountain was fogged in all day. But with master gardener Karla with us we did get to see and identify many plants and flowers. The rhododendron at the higher elevations was in prime bloom and several places along the way we walked on a trail strewn with blossoms. Plus we ate fresh wild mountain blueberries along the trail.
We saw and learned to identify crimson bee-balm, dodder, Indian pipe, galax, Turk's-cap lilly and a few others thanks to Karla. If your wildflower book is too heavy to carry when hiking, just take Karla...you don't have to carry her and she has more information than any old book.
The hike included a little over 2 miles on the Appalachian Trail which is the most beautiful section of the route to Mt. Cammerer.
As usual, we stopped for a nice dinner on the way home. P.F. Chang's is getting to see us on a regular basis.