My time for hiking in the Smokies is running out. Back in January I accepted a job at Voyageurs National Park in northern Minnesota. Noelle, Sierra and I are very excited to be headed back to the Northland. However, I will definitely miss tromping around in my beloved Smokies. I do have a goal of hiking 500 miles before we leave and I am very close to meeting that goal. It does mean that I will have to head back to the national park at least 2 more times before we leave in early April.
Today's hike started at Mingus Mill
After visiting the slave cemetery I set out on the Mingus Creek Trail. The trail began as a wide, gravel road that is still used by National Park Service personnel for administrative purposes.
From the cemetery I retraced my steps to the Mingus Creek Trail and continued on my way. I found an interesting piece of metal along the side of the trail, but I'm not sure what it was.
Soon after passing the chimneys I came to a junction with the Cooper Creek Trail.
At Thomas Divide I turned right and continued to ascend. Earlier in the hike I had noticed how green many of the trees looked. Certainly it is too early for leaves to be budding out, so I was a bit perplexed. There must have been some high winds recently and the wind blew down some trees, branches and lots of old man's beard lichen.
Soon, I turned onto the Newton Bald Trail and followed it for a short.7 mile. Then I turned onto Mingus Creek Trail