While splendid and full of wonder, it's not exactly easy for a hiker to plan a full trip if the trailhead is nestled in the park, which is closed to motor traffic until 10 a.m. This would have been a great fact to know AHEAD OF TIME as the the trailhead I needed was located deep within the park. Furthermore, the mileage (around a 15-mile R/T) and terrain (summit of Rocky Top and Thunderhead) of my trail warranted a necessity to be on the trail by 9 a.m. So, as I sat in dead-stopped traffic until well after 10, that made me alter my plans. To make my ill-tempered morning even worse, the line of cars I was trailing did not heed the "be courteous to other drivers and don't stop on the road" signs that were posted every quarter of a mile. Nope. So by the time I finally got angry and decided I'd take the very next trail I saw, it was 11 a.m. That next trail happened to be Abram's Falls.
|Flowing Abram's Falls, Great Smoky Mountains, Cade's Cove|
|Some people just ignore the rules|
for the sake a few minutes of fun.
The vast majority of people stop their hike at the falls and then head back after enjoying the view. Of course, the falls are only 2.5 miles in... so there was no way I was stopping at the highly known. My hikes crave solitude and the discovery of what few take the time to see. I loaded my gear back up and continued on my happy little way.
|A hidden waterfall|
Not too much further on, I opted to turn around... I was breaking one of the rules of hiking and I knew it: I was on a trail that was NOT the one I had told everyone I would take... IF anything happened, there was no logical reason that my family would know to look for me here. So I turned around knowing I would at least have 8 or more miles under my belt for the day.
Even though plans get altered and things don't go they way they are always supposed to, there's still more to be said for a bad day of hiking that shames a good day in front of the tv or computer.