Monday, March 30, 2009

Great Smoky Mountains National Park: Albright Grove/Maddron Bald

Last night I drove to the Smokies after parting ways with Noelle. I was excited to be there, but bummed that Noelle wasn't there with me. It was drizzly as I pulled in to the Cosby Campground and realized that I didn't have any cash to pay for a campsite. I would have to drive a few miles back to town to get some money. When I finally got back to Cosby, I set up camp and paid for three nights. I settled in for a chilly night's sleep.

This morning I awoke to blue skies! It was cold, but it would be nice to hike in some nice weather. I had picked out a long 18 mile to hike. I would start out on the Gabes Mountain Trail and check out Hen Wallow Falls.
From Gabes Mountain I would head up Maddron Bald Trail to the Albright Grove Loop.
Albright Grove Sign
I carried out my plan well and was impressed by the large, old-growth trees in the Albright Grove.
Big Trees
After that I headed further up Maddron Bald Trail to the summit of Maddron Bald itself. The bald was unimpressive, but there were some views along portions of the trail.
I would then hike up to the Appalachian Trail and bushwack over to Inadu Knob.
Inadu Knob
The area around the Knob was interesting in that there was a lot of what appeared to be plane crash wreckage scattered around the area.

After Inadu Knob I headed down the Snake Den Ridge Trail to the lower elevations of the park where the ground was carpeted in wildflowers.
Trail and Flower Carpet
There were spring beauty, trillium, trout lillies,
blood root, and countless small white flowers of different varieties which I could not identify. I'm spending another night here at Cosby Campground recovering from a long day of hiking.    

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