Sunday, February 1, 2015

Great Smoky Mountains National Park: Ramsey Cascades Trail

I didn't sleep well last night. Actually, I slept like a log until 2 am. After that I was restless. I was out of bed by 5 am and on the road to the Smokies by 5:15. After a stop in Newport for breakfast, I had made it to the Ramsey Cascades Trailhead before it was even light enough to start hiking. I sat in the car for about 20 minutes and organized my gear before it seemed light enough out to hit the trail.
trailhead

The lower portions of the Ramsey Cascades Trail were fairly easy hiking on an old road
road 2
that closely followed the Middle Prong of the Little Pigeon River
river
and then the Ramsey Prong.
P1060792
After 1.5 miles the road ended at a cul-de-sac and the real trail began. Almost immediately the trail got quite snowy. I put on my microspikes and crossed over the stream on a very icy footbridge.
other bridge
Soon I found myself amongst a few very large old tulip trees. One section of trail passed right through 2 that seemed to stand sentinel.
between 2 huge trees_edited-1
Nearby was a single specimen, even larger than the others.
at base of tree

I crossed the stream again on a very snowy log bridge
snowwy bridge
carefully crossing
and after a nice climb I was at my destination for today's hike: Ramsey Cascades.
cascades sign
There was quite a bit of ice along the cascades
mini cascades
and the scenery had a magical quality about it. I admired both an upper
ramsey cascades
and lower view of the falls
ramsey cascades fron farther back
and then started to make my descent back to the trailhead. Before I knew it I was crossing the Middle Prong of the Little Pigeon River back to my car.
ending hike

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