Ice water Spring, the trail is a downhill slide through the wet
sandstone and slate that is part of the trail. The forest here is
very damp and very beautiful. As you walk downhill towards Charles
Bunion, the Forest changes from a Boreal forest of spruce and fir
trees to a northern hardwood forest. Maples and cherry trees line
the trail as you hike closer to the "Bunion". After three
quarters of a mile, your destination can be seen through breaks
in the trees.
As you walk
through the hardwoods, the views on the left and the right of the
trail are spectacular. This is truly one of the east's greatest
ridge hikes. Tennessee is to the left of the trail and North Carolina
to the right. This part of the trail is very much unlike the section
of the AT that you hiked to get here. In 1925 a huge forest fire
swept up these ridges burning everything in its path. This area
heavily logged and very few trees were left on these precipitous
slopes. The timber companies carelessly left the waste from the
clear cut trees behind causing a fire hazard. This "Slash",
branches that the loggers couldn't use, caught fire and turned this
beautiful mountainside into a waste land. Four years later a horrendous
thunderstorm washed away the remaining soil and left the exposed
rock that is a characteristic of this section of the trail. This
man made destruction has a beauty of its own.
After the great
thunderstorm of 1929 Horace Kephart, the famous writer from Hazel
Creek, gathered a group of hikers to observe the damage caused
by the storm. One of the team members, Charlie Conner, was known
to have foot problems. While observing the newly formed cliffs with
awe, Kephart named the large out crop after Charlie's aching feet.
The name stuck.
this great rock formation, many hikers are tempted to climb around
the edges of this spectacular rock formation. Beware ! Several lives
have been lost
here due to the unstable nature of this rock formation. That being
said, the views deserve a long break to take it all in. This is
one of the greatest places in the park for a picnic lunch. Looking
straight ahead, one can see Gatlinburg, Tn. on a clear day. To the
right of the view is a great valley, surrounded by great cliffs.
to look at...enjoy !
is in the center of the Great Smokey Mountain National Park. Drive
to Cherokee or Gatlinburg and take 441 (Newfound Gap Road) to Newfound
Gap. This is approximately 20 miles from Cherokee and 15 miles from
Gatlinburg, one of the few drives through the untamed wilderness
of the Smokies. From the parking lot at the Gap, it's well marked,
take the white blazed Appalachian Trail. It begins to the left of
the rest rooms. From there it's only 6 miles to the greatest views
in the park.
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