Noelle and I had originally planned a trip to Asheville, but Noelle ended up not feeling too well and decided to let me go off on my own for a "Man Day". It was about nine when I realized I had a free day, and so I had a late start in hitting the road. I quickly packed my pack, and hit the road for the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. I pulled into the gravel area off the side of the Greenbrier Road and the Grapeyard Ridge Trailhead a little bit after 10:30 and hit the trail.
I had originally planned to hike the Grapeyard Ridge Trail in its entirety, all at once. However, With my late start I knew that there was no way I could hike the 15+ miles roundtrip and get back home at a reasonable time. Instead, I decided to hike Grapeyard Ridge to Campsite 32. I had read that there was an unofficial trail, called the Injun Creek Trail, that started just past the campsite. I would hike this trail to the Greenbrier Road and follow the road back to my car.
As I started my hike, it was immediately evident that spring is, indeed here. I saw some vinca in bloom right at the trailhead.
Soon I crested a gap and started a descent. The descent followed Injun Creek and I quickly found myself at the remains of a steam powered tractor that had been used in logging trees in what is now the national park.
The trail that led to the cemetery was well maintained and even had a bridge that crossed over a small stream.
The road walk turned out to be more interesting than I had imagined it would be. Moving at a walking pace allowed my to discover trails leading off into the woods that I never would have seen had I been zipping past in a car. At a gravel parking spot, I found a path down to the Little Pigeon River.
The road passed some rapids on the river
It was a quick return hike to the road. Once on the road I hiked past the picnic area and saw some more wildflowers in bloom off to the side of the road.