Pathfinder has been thruhiking the Appalachian Trail this year, but was taking a vacation from the Pennsylvania rocks. I hadn't seen her since when I backpacked with her during her first days on the AT. Now she's a seasoned thruhiker with over a thousand miles under her belt, and it was so cool to see how she has transformed and to hear about her experiences. *check out Pathfinder's Trail Journal Here*
Immediately upon arriving at the trailhead, we were greeted by a stray dog named Buddy (according to his collar). Buddy ignored the fact that dogs aren't allowed in the Smokies, and that I usually avoid hiking with dogs, and despite our best efforts, he proceeded to join us for our trip. We didn't have cell service to call his owners, but we were reassured that his tag proclaimed "Buddy knows his way home."
|Buddy provides encouragement on the water crossings.|
Upon cresting the ridge, we were greeted by the sound of Abrams Creek which would be the soundtrack for the rest of our trip. The trail was narrow with tricky footing on the descent to the river.
|On Little Bottoms Trail following Abrams Creek.|
|Holly and Buddy got along fabulously, but we didn't see Buddy the next day.|
|Soaking feet in the cool waters of Abrams Creek and watching the sky turn from dark gray to sunny blue.|
|A glorious site- sun, not rain, on my tarp.|
|Rhododendron along the Little Bottom Trail.|
-Get a Smokies backcountry permit here. It's easy, you just need to do it ahead of time.
-Hiking Trails of the Smokies, for trail descriptions and elevation profiles.
-Trails Illustrated map #316 Cades Cove/ Elkmont.