I drove Interstate 40 east into North Carolina in fog and a light rain. The day was not shaping up the way I had hoped. The forecast for today called for partly sunny skies. Yet there I was close to my hiking destination in the Cataloochee section of Great Smoky Mountains National Park, in the dark, pre-dawn rain, second-guessing my decision to make this hike.
I arrived at the trailhead for the Cataloochee Divide Trail before it was even light, and so I opted to relax in the car for a bit. At 7:33 I finally hit the trail in the fog and mist and made my way west along the Cataloochee Divide. It was cool enough that I hiked in my fleece sweatshirt. I even contemplated donning my rain jacket, not because of rain, but because of the constantly dripping water falling from the leaves and branches of the trees. Things finally brightened a bit when I had reached Taylor's Turnaround,
I passed through open forest and tunnels of rhododendron,
I soon found another trail that was signed as leading to Cataloochee Divide and so I took it. Then I saw a trail signed for Ferguson Cabin and decided that I just had to see the cabin. The trail, an old road, led across a small stream and then into a clearing where the cabin sits.
Almost immediately I found the junction with the McKee Branch Trail.
After checking out the cemetery, I headed back to the McKee Branch Trail and soon thereafter found myself at its intersection with Caldwell Fork Trail.
Gooseberry Knob is an exceedingly pleasant spot.
On the way back I decided to detour through the Swag grounds to have a look around a bit. I walked past the pleasant garden
After eating my ice cream sandwich, I made my way along the park boundary on the Swag side for a bit.