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.