From Appletree group campground, I started north on the Bartram Trail, passing all the Labor Day car-campers. With all those people, I expected to see someone on the trail, but (you guessed it), it was just me and the flowers that first day. However, I did see two couples on the second day both near the trailheads. Still, the Bartram deserves it's reputation as the trail for solitude.
|Grass of Parnassus on the banks of Piercy Creek|
|Yellow buckeye fruit and seeds (with the "buck eye" unfortunately not showing)|
|View from the "surge tank" on the side of Rattlesnake Knob|
|Morning light reveals this to be just an old outhouse near my campsite on day 1.|
|Following the Nantahala River.|
I arrived at a campsite with a few hours of daylight left, so I decided to keep hiking to see if I could reach the end of the section (i.e. Nantahala Lake and Bateman's store). But after a hour I reached a gravel road. Fed up with roadwalking and not finding another suitable camping spot, I turning around and returned to the site I'd seen. The campsite turned out to be absolutely fantastic and I was glad to have come back to it.
|Running ground pine and mountain laurel surround my campsite on day 2.|
|Evening thunder clouds over Nantahala Lake.|
|Morning fog over Nantahala Lake and Dam.|
For the record, I did not hike the 0.7 miles (i.e. 1.4 miles out and back) between the "Phillips 66" and Nantahala Lake trailhead along the paved road. I started to, but I didn't like having to jump into the overgrown ditch every time a car zoomed by. I'd done enough road-walking on this trip. If I ever feel like I need to do every inch of the Bartram trail, then I'll figure out someone to shuttle me and bring along a reflective vest so I don't get hit by a car. Funny how I can be perfectly at home for two days by myself out in forest, but traffic makes me too uncomfortable.
|Gas station and store where the Bartram leaves the paved road.|