Took a quick trip to the Smokies Friday, Saturday, and Sunday with some friend and their sons. We hiked the Deep Creek Trail from just below New Found Gap down to Bryson City. The weather was great, low 90's in the day, 70's at night. The boys who went were 7,8, and 12 years old. For the youngest it was their first trip. Other than the repeated "how much farthers", they did great. However I don't think a single mushroom or centipede survived once the boys encountered them. Hope none were endangered.
We hiked 4 miles and took a break at campsite #53, Poke Patch. Leaving Poke Patch we began to see signs of recent trail maintenance. Workers had cleared back much of the overgrown mountain laurel. We came to one section that appeared to have been missed, but soon found out why. Out of nowhere, the hornet attack began. I took one sting to shoulder and my friend got hit twice in the leg. I'm beginning to think this is my luck for smokies trips. Last year I was multiple times in the knee before noticing I had bumped into a nest with my leg. NO FUN.
We reached campsite #54 located just off Deep Creek, our home for Friday night. The site was secluded with tons of old growth trees. My tree straps barely reached around the trees with enough left for a marlin spike hitch. Despite repeated sounds of thunder and lighting, we didn't get any rain.
Saturday morning we awoke early and fished for trout until lunch. We caught 6 overall with two keepers. After a quick lunch of trout and various feeze dried entrees we headed back to the creek for more fishing. While fishing a particular section we discovered a nice swimming hole located along the trail.
We packed our gear around 2pm and headed to the swimming hole for a much needed cooling off. After an hour or so of swimming we hiked just 3 miles to our next campsite, #59. We found the campsite occupied by some locals who were spending the weekend fishing. Fortunately we found another unmarked site nearby right on the creek. We cooked dinner and retired around 8:30, me to my hammock and everyone else to their tents.
Sunday morning after breakfast we got a late start on the trail. Sunday's hike out was just 6 miles, with only a couple steep sections. The last two miles of the trail consisted of an old road bed which made for easy walking. We made it to the Deep Creek camping area around 1 and headed to the local McD's for some burgers and fries.
After lunch we went back to Deep Creek and rented tubes. The tube run was just under a mile long and was a great end to the weekend. I highly recommend this trail for anyone with kids or first time hikers. Great scenery and realitivly easy hiking.
The other hikers were envious of my hammock and the amount of sleep I got versus theirs. I think we have some new converts.
I got to test my new DIY IX UQ and TQ on the trip. Both worked great, but were a little hot for the temps we encountered. I'm looking forward to cooler temps for a better test.
Also, I've included a pic of a marker indicating the last permanent campsite of Horace Kephart. He was instrumental in the campaign to form the park.
Here's a few pics: