Spring has come early to the Smokies so its time to lose the winter fat and hit the trails. I started this one with a motorcycle ride up to Cades Cove and hit the trail head at the rear of the picnic area.



Wildflowers are coming in about two weeks early this year and on my return leg we had our first 80*F day. A 3.5mi hike and 1500ft climb got me BC campsite #9. Here's some of the flowers along the way.


Hepatica

Yellow Violets

Spring Beauty

I had the campsite all to myself. This reserved site was supposed to be full with a work crew but they decided to go somewhere else so it was all mine. The reservation office had told me that the entire AT shelter system was full up with the nice weather and Spring Break. In a few weeks thru hikers on the AT will fill them again.


Home for the night.

I had my Winter burrow and Mt Wash top quilt with my Blackbird but really didn't need them the temps were only in the low 50's. I had just missed the supper moon by a couple days but when it did break through the forest canopy around midnight I thought someone was in the wood shining a flashlight.


While answering the call of nature I had a first. Pants down and squatting this fella slithered between my feet to get out of the line of fire. I don't know who was more frightened.


I can see the top and the AT. FINALLY! After a short but gruelling 1500ft climb in just over 2mi.


The AT at Bote Mt trail and Spence Field


Still Winter up top. Not much of a field left this is the largest section of open ground I saw.


Most of Spence Field looks more like this.


Spence Field Shelter. Time to head down, a 3000ft decent in 5mi using Bote Mt and Lead Cove trails. I'm still sore two days later.