Sunday, June 22, 2014

Great Smoky Mountains National Park: Baskins Creek Trail and Grapeyard Ridge Trail to Campsite 32

I went for a solo hike today in Great Smoky Mountains National Park. It was my first solo hike in quite some time as I've been spending a lot of time hiking with my girls. While I missed their company, it was good to go a little farther and hike a little faster. I started my hike off of the Roaring Fork Motor Nature Trail at the Baksins Creek Trailhead.
Baskins Creek Trailhead

The trail did not start off as I had anticipated it would. I figured it would descend to Baskins Creek immediately, but instead it ascended to a dry ridge before making the descent. There was a lot of rhododendron in bloom along the trail.
rhododendron flower
I also lots of mushrooms
mushroom
and other assorted fungi.
fungus
When the trail finally descended, it followed Baskins Creek rather closely.
creekside trail
I took a side trail
Cemetery sign
to the Baskins Creek Cemetery
Baskins Creek Cemetery
and then continued along the creek to another side trail that led to Baskins Falls.
Baskins Falls
The falls were not particularly high, but they still made for a nice place to rest and enjoy a snack.

After admiring the falls I headed back to the main trail, an old road.
nice trail
It led to another cemetery
Cemetery 2
and shortly thereafter to the Roaring Fork Motor Nature Trail. I crossed Roaring Fork
Roaring Fork
on a bridge and investigated a few old buildings including a cabin,
cabin
barn, and corn crib.
outbuilding
In the corner of the field that surrounds the buildings is the western trailhead for the Grapeyard Ridge Trail. This is where I would continue my day's hike.

I have to admit that I did not find Grapeyard Ridge to be the most exciting trail I've ever hiked. I saw some animal life in the form of a doe deer
deer
and butterfly.
butterfly
I also saw some pretty red flowers in bloom
red flower
near one of the streams I crossed.
stream
Mostly, it was just a walk to enjoy the woods and get a section of trail done that I had not walked before. I had walked the eastern edge of the trail to Campsite 32 back in March, but needed this 4.4 mile section to complete the entire length.

I stopped at the campsite,
turnaround
ate a good snack and then headed back on the trail I had just walked. The hiking went fast. I passed through a section of trail surrounded by the trail's namesake grape vines
namesake grapevines
and soon found myself back at the Roaring Fork Motor Nature Trail. I walked the road back to my car and found it to be impressively steep. I got a nice view of the surrounding mountains at one of the overlooks
view
and was soon back at the car.

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