Wednesday, June 10, 2009

As Promised, Part II

Since rain was forecast for later in the week we decided to do our two big hikes first. So first day, off to see the view from Charlie's Bunion. Isn't that an interesting name for a look-out point? More on that in a minute.To go to Charlie's Bunion you follow the Appalachian trail. The AT goes from Springer Mtn, GA to Katahdin, Maine. Glad we weren't going to Katahdin, don't think we were up to 1972 miles.Since this trails follows the top of a ridge, it provided many beautiful vistas. You know the old saying, "it took my breath away". I felt like that alot. Of course I had to take photos of the wildflowers along the way. Beauty was everywhere.I reckon they don't call them the Smokies for nothing. Final destination point. After two miles we were glad to see this sign. Say hello to Charlie's Bunion. What a magnificent view. If you enlarge the picture you'll get a better feel for it.When we arrived here we climbed up on that ledge. Now I don't like heights so trust me, I didn't sit there but just a minute. Here's how it got named. Story has it in 1925(before the park was established) there was a fire and then in 1951 a flash flood occurred in the same area which left a rocky ledge. Well a group of men decided to go check it out. In the group was a man named Charlie Connor who was known to have a very large bunion. They thought with all the vegetation gone this outcropping reminded them of his bunion and hence the name Charlie's bunion stuck. No, I didn't make that up, true story.Even sitting at the base of the rocky ledge creeped me out. This is just a sampling of what the trail is like. Between the rocks and lots of roots you had to be very careful or you could find yourself kissing the ground.After we walked back down the trail a ways we turned back and could see the "bunion". See those people on top? That's where we had been sitting earlier. Yikes!!!Since this trail if part of the AT we decided to check out a backpacker's shelter.How would you like to sleep here? Total strangers just line up on those bunks. This is kind of scary to see!!! Don't think I'd be able to sleep a wink.

This was the first time we had taken this hike and it was worth every minute. Since we were still in the park we decided to go check out Clingman's Dome. We had never been there before either. It is one of the highest points in the park at an elevation of 6643 feet. We knew there was an observation tower there. We thought we would just drive to the parking lot and walk up the observation tower.Oh my were we ever wrong! We had another mile round trip to make. And this trail, even tho paved, seemed so difficult. If you enlarge you can see the parking lot.It was pretty much up hill all the way. The observation tower. Was it worth it? Oh yeah, definitely!

Hope you enjoyed our hike as much as we did.


27 comments:

Darla said...

What fantastice views. Okay, I enlarged the photo of you on the edge, I felt dizzy myself, I'm sure you were creeped out. Ahem, Bears? No way!!

Dorothy said...

Susie, this is great!! As I told you, we love the Smokies! When I looked at Charlie's Bunion, I saw the profile of a reclining man's face! The top of his head is on the right, then his brow, his eye, nose, etc. ☺ Am I the only one who see this?
When we were at Clingmans Dome in November, we almost froze! There was a little snow and the wind was fierce and cold! The uphill half mile trek was hard for us! We used all the rest benches!

Mildred said...

I love these pictures Susie. I used to hike all the time in college days in n. GA. I remember having to keep my eyes on the trail for roots, rocks etc. It was so easy to trip! You really got some great shots and I have never been to these areas so it was a real treat to see them. Thanks!

Betsy from Tennessee said...

Glad you had such a great time, Susie. We have not hiked on the Appalachian Trail ---but have heard of Charlie's Bunyon. What a great view you all had!!!! The pictures are incredible.

We've hiked all over the Smokies ---and seldom see bears. They are really more afraid of us then we of them. But--it's best to be careful and not carry food..

I've been on that jaunt up to Clingman's Dome a few times. It is hard--and I think the pavement makes it harder. I have seldom been there when there is a good view from the top.

Keep those pictures coming.
Hugs,
Betsy

deedee said...

Loved the pictures! Can't wait for Part III.

Leedra said...

Never been to Charlie's Bunion, and has been years since I have been to the tower at Clingman's Dome. Actually was pregnant with my 2nd child (now 27 yrs old), I am sure somebody else carried child #1 up that hill. But there is a pic of me at the top holding her.

Terri said...

Wouldn't it be fun to take a month off of work and hike the AT, camping along the way? :) I would love to do that! Of course, I don't really want to be eaten by a bear, so maybe I should settle for a cruise instead!

George said...

You certainly got in a couple of great hikes -- I'm impressed with you doing both on the same day. I'm glad we can share the Smokies with people who appreciate them.

gardenerprogress/Catherine said...

Now I want to go! Those views are beautiful, and I like the story of Charlie's Bunion :) Thanks for sharing the great hike.

perennialgardener said...

Those heights would of made me a bit nervous too, but what a great view! Oh & no way would I be bunking out in the woods with that sign posting. ;) Thanks for sharing more photos of your trip.

Becky said...

Amazing! The views do take your breath away even in photos. I can't imagine it in real life.

beckie said...

Susie, what gorgeous views! You must have wanted to stay up there forever. It looks like such a perfect day for a hike and really the 'smoke wasn't too bad. I have seen it almost block the views of the mountains, but that is later in the summer. No sleeping in the back packers shelter for me either. :)

Thistledew Farm said...

Ohh Susie you were so close to us! I have been up Clingmans Dome and hiked a small portion of the AT near by. We live about an hour from where you hiked - you can probably see our house (or area nearby) on a clear day 20 miles or so off to the west. It is a lovely time of the year to hike the Smokies!

Lanny said...

Hikes are well worth it aren't they?!

A bunion on a foot hill?

Nice photos, you surely had a wonderful time!

A. Joy said...

Thanks for taking us along on your hike! We love hiking too! Charlie's Bunion is a funny story - All of the pics were fabulous but I have to say my favorite is the one of the rocky trail! Cool backpackers shelter - I guess when you're all tuckered out - any ol' place will do!

Kanak Hagjer said...

Enjoyed every bit of it Susie. The views are so beautiful. Interesting how Charlie's Bunion was named. Thanks for posting the wildflowers too. I just kept looking at the photos. Spectacular views!

Jen said...

Breathtaking indeed. What a beautiful area, and perfect for the hiker.
That backpaker's shelter don't look to comfy. ha.

Milah said...

That is a funny story about Charlie's Bunion! It's funny how things like that stick.
Those views are amazing. As I was reading this post I was wondering about bears then you mentioned them. I don't think I would be camping in that shelter.

BTW, I've been having problems with your blog downloading really slow. Your blog is the only one that does that and I'm wondering if others are having that problem. When I go to your blog I go start a load of laundry or dust or vaccuum then come back to read it. It reminds me of when I had dial-up.:(
Maybe the problem is on my end.

Anna Colleen said...

I love hiking for all the pretty views, wild animals and flowers. Not to mention the great exercise!

It looks like your hike had all that!

The observatory picture is high up and amazing, amazing how it must have been built.

Susie said...

Milah-It's probably on my end. I think with this particular background it sometimes loads slow. I haven't had anyone else tell me that though so who knows.

Anna Colleen said...

PS I took the flower quiz. I am a daffodil!

Miss Sandy said...

Susie,
Thanks for dropping in and for your sweet comments. The hike looks like it was fantastic, so pretty. Your photos are lovely to.

I thought about you the past few days and wished I had your gardening advice as I slaved over some decisions of what to plant. I think I did OK but I am not a gardener. I kept thinking, "What would Susie choose?"

I love the butterfly and hummingbird photos on your sidebar. Hummers are hard to catch being still, great shot.

Rose said...

Yes, I did enjoy your hike, especially since you were the one doing all the work:) Seriously, your photos are fantastic--what beautiful views! I don't think I would have been brave enough, though, to even sit on that ledge. I am VERY scared of heights. Looks like a wonderful vacation; thanks for sharing, Susie.

NatureStop said...

Really enjoyed your trip.Such a lovely place and such great pics.The wildflowers look beautiful.

Jan (Thanks For 2 Day) said...

Hi Susie, I really enjoyed your 2-part 'Hike Series'! When you mentioned Mt Katahdin I just had to tell you that my husband is from Maine, and has climbed that mountain with a group of guys during college. (They were all in the 'Navigators' at the time) and had a great experience together. I went to H.S. in Maine and met Mike in college...so I know a lot about that area of the country, as well. It's lovely up there. The mountains are just as gorgeous all the way up the trail...I so appreciate seeing your photos; it sounds (and looks) like you had a fantastic trip!!) Take Care! Jan

Daisy said...

Oh my! What wonderful sights to see, Susie. Thanks for sharing those pictures. I'm with you about the heights. That would have made me nervous to be on the bunion no matter how gorgeous the view was. Have a great weekend! :D

TC said...

Y'all had a gorgeous day for the hike! Thanks for sharing the wonderful time y'all had with us. Your pictures are stunning! Especially the one of Charlie's Bunion (my brother's name is Charles and sometimes we call him Charlie, I'll have to direct him to your blog so he can see his famous bunion. Oh, our last name is Conner.)