Saturday, November 2, 2013

Appalachian Trail: Indian Grave Gap to Beauty Spot

Mom offered to watch Sierra today, so Noelle and I had the afternoon to ourselves. We headed over to Erwin, past Rock Creek and over to Indian Grave Gap on the North Carolina border for a hike up to Beauty Gap.

The hike started off with a pleasant ascent through a wooded area.
noelle hiking AT
Most of the leaves are already down in this section of forest,
Winter Trees and Distant Mountains
so today's hike felt more like a winter hike then a fall one. Soon we were hiking through an area that looked as if it burned some time in the recent past. The ascent was never really steep, but it was a fairly long climb. Eventually the trees thinned out a bit and the trail traversed a thin strip of meadow or old fields.
beauty Spot
This was the Beauty Spot.

I don't remember Beauty Spot from my thru-hike, but it was a lot like a smaller version of Max Patch. We could see a storm approaching as we reached the high point of our hike and there was a parking area nearby.
approaching rain
Despite the threat of rain we followed the Appalachian Trail towards distant Unaka Mountain
Unaka Mountain from Beauty Spot
and past the parking area and down to the Forest Service Road that closely paralleled the trail. When we reached the road we made a left onto it and followed it down to the trailhead at Indian Grave Gap.
hiking down the road
the road
A nice hike that probably would have been more pleasant just about a week or so ago when the fall colors were at their peak.       

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