Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Great Smoky Mountains NP: Andrews Bald

Way back in September of last year we went camping in the Smoky Mountains...and I never even talked about it here. We had a wonderful time, and it confirmed my belief that I could live in those mountains and be happy forever. 

Just like when we stayed in Shenandoah, it rained for the first couple days. It's ok, we still hiked and enjoyed ourselves. But, we were really happy when the sky cleared and we were able to enjoy the fall colors with a little bit of sunshine and a little less wet. 

We decided to hike to Andrews Bald, a quick 1.8 miles one-way. The parking lot for Clingmans Dome was insane! We drove around four times before we found a spot. Most people were going up to the observation tower, only a few were going to the Bald. 

The trail was beautiful, it went through a spruce-fir forest and then would come out on some beautiful open vistas.

Almost there!

Oh yeah, wonderful. It was amazing, the sun was shining and we were above the clouds. We couldn't see mountains in the distance, but there was a surreal feeling of floating on the bald. We took off our packs and just laid down in the meadow. 

We may have gotten a few stares, but most people saw us and decided to take a seat and enjoy the view too. I mean, why hike out here and not stop and take it in. 

We took our time going back, stopping a bunch and really appreciating our surroundings. And by the time we got back the clouds had cleared and we could see the mountains for quite a ways. 

It made me want to turn around and go right back to the bald. 
Maybe another time. 

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