My last day in the Smokies. I packed up a wet camp this morning and drove south to Big Creek. From there I hiked on an old railroad grade along the beautiful Big Creek.
The Swallow Fork Trail climbs pretty steeply and the going seemed a bit slow. When I finally reached the Mount Sterling Ridge Trail the drizzle seemed to stop and the sun poked through the clouds a bit.
When I got back to the car, I headed over to I-40 and drove east into North Carolina. Tomorrow I will attempt to conquer the highest point east of the Mississippi: Mount Mitchell. I stopped in Asheville for a quick dinner, then back onto I-40 to US-70 and state route 80. I should have planned out this portion of the trip better, because I had a difficult time figuring our where the Black Mountain Campground was. When I finally found it, it was not yet open for the season. I pitched my tent by a river just outside the campground and settled in for the night.