more than a dozen creek crossings the trail comes to the second
junction of the Boogerman Trail. This is the recommended route because
the climb along Caldwell Creek is gradual. The climb up Boogerman
Trail at the first junction is long and steep. The Boogerman Trail
is a hiker only trail so don't expect to see any of the muddy patches
that you saw on Caldwell Fork Trail.
at this junction and enter the world of Robert Booger Palmer. Mr.
Palmer was an very busy man in his day. That is obvious by the many
stone walls and structures that line this trail. The first structure,
on the right, is all that remains of a spring house. The door jam
is still partially intact, two
pieces stand upright firmly planted in the stone foundation.
This is a great place to do off trail exploration. There are lots
of remnants of an old homestead and the structures that are left
are the result of solid construction. The usual rules regarding
snakes apply. Simply put, be careful where you put your hands and
feet and you will get along with them just fine!
passing the first structures, the trail climbs along the aptly named
Snake Branch. The Boogerman Trail is actually an old road built
by Robert Palmer. You can still see split
rail fence posts that line the old road. Continue up the trail passing
more stone walls and foundations. After crossing Snake Branch, begin
a short but steep climb. The new addition of a series of switchbacks,
makes the climb up to the top of the dry ridge at the top much easier.
reaching the top, you leave the old structures and enter an area
that has a significant amount of old growth forest. Here there
are plenty of "Second Growth" hemlocks, beech and sassafras
trees. Like most residents of Cataloochee, old man Palmer liked
his trees and
didn't allow wholesale cutting of these beautiful trees. Aside from
a few "seeps" this section of the trail is very dry. The
rest of this trail is downhill. For the next 2.5 miles, you can
enjoy Booger Palmer's beautiful domain without a strenuous climb
that may distract you from this beautiful forest. Wildflowers are
plentiful in the Spring and Fall here. After a beautiful and painless
stroll in the forest, you will reach the Caldwell Fork Trail again.
From this trail junction it is only 8 tenths of a mile back to the