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  1. #1
    Member smithbd2's Avatar
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    GSMNP hiking & camping

    This weekend I went to the Greenbrier area of the park for some hiking.
    Here is a brief rundown of the weekend:
    Friday – Hike to Ramsey Cascades. 8 miles round trip
    Hike to campsite 31 on Porters Creek. 3.7 miles
    Saturday – Hike back to the truck, unload over night gear. 3.7 miles
    Hike to LeConte Lodge vie Brushy Mt and Trillium Gap Trail 9.1 miles.
    Sunday – Hike back to the truck with a side trip up Brushy Mtn. 9.5 miles

    Now for the longer, more detailed version. Stopped at the Greenbrier Ranger Station Saturday morning, filled out a camping permit, drove on to the Ramsey Cascades trailhead. Got on the trail about 8:30. It is 4 miles in and 4 miles back. It starts out as a wide trail for service vehicles for about a mile then changes to some rugged & rocky path, but there are lots of stone stairways. The view is well worth the trip. I didn’t see anyone until I was about ˝ mile on the way back. I met more than a dozen people on the way back.
    I enjoyed my Subway sandwich (Italian BMT) on the tailgate of my truck before driving over to the trailhead for the Porters Creek trail.
    From the parking lot you hike about 1 mile of service road before getting to the trail heads of the 2 different trails. I passed several stone fences and one cemetery on the way.
    As with most of the trails on the Smokey’s, Porters Creek is up hill most of the way. There is about 1500’ elevation difference between parking lot and campsite. The camp site is ok, there is a lower and upper campsite, with both having their set of bear cables. Two young men had a tent on the lower part; I set up my hammock and tarp in the upper part. Someone had apparently carried a pumpkin 3.7 miles during Halloween, because there was a jack-o-lantern at my campsite. I was surprised that nothing had tried to eat it; I moved it far away from me, just in case. No major issues other than I had forgotten to bring a fork or spoon; mine was still in the dishwasher. One of the other guys let me borrow one. A big thank you to them. Had an awesome full moon, you really didn’t need a flash light to walk around. It got down to about 32°, but I stayed very warm in my War Bonnet Black Bird hammock and Montbell sleeping bag, Crowsnest UQ and Big Mamba Jamba tarp.
    Saturday morning I was on the trail by 8:30. Dumped all my camping gear at my truck, changed clothes, had a snack and headed up to LeConte Lodge, where I had a reservation for the night. Saw a little snow and some ice sickles on the way up. I was in a cabin by 4:00pm which was some hard hiking for me. Nearly 4500’ elevation change, averaging between 500’ and 600’ per mile. Had a good time there, had some good food and got a good nights sleep. The next morning after a big breakfast I started back down Trillium Gap. I took a side trip up to Brushy Mtn. Sign says .2 miles, map says .4, my GPS said .3, so go figure. There are some awesome views up there. There are virtually no trees. Had a good hike down, saw no one on the Brushy Mtn trail both days.
    At the end of the service road, near the trailheads are a barn, cabin, spring house and outhouse. They were worth checking out. Had a good time, but will have to wait until next year to do anymore hiking in the Smokey’s. I can’t wait.

    Here are a few pics:


    Ramsey Cascade



    Tarp & hammock setup



    Using a sleeping bag for a top quilt.



    View from Brushy Mtn.

    Here is a link to the entire album:
    http://outdoors.webshots.com/album/5...pUJkez?start=0

  2. #2
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    Nice setup and beautiful location.

    cutter

  3. #3
    Senior Member Buffalo Skipper's Avatar
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    Wow! I am always awed by the GSMNP. Looks like you had a great time. I was planning an overnight this weekend near Deep Creek, but I had to cancel. Bummer.

    Glad to see you made it out. Mt. LeConte is always spectacular! I first did it when I was 12 years old via the AT and Boulevard and down Alum Cave Bluff. I want to do it from the north some day. Where did you park for the LeConte trek, and what route did you take up?
    “Indian builds small fire and stays warm, white man builds big fire and stays warm collecting firewood”—unknown

    “The cure for anything is salt water - sweat, tears, or the sea”—Karen Blixen

  4. #4
    mbiraman's Avatar
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    Beautiful area , always like seeing where others hang out.
    " The mind creates the abyss, the heart crosses it."

    “The measure of your life will not be in what you accumulate, but in what you give away.” ~Wayne Dyer

    www.birchsidecustomwoodwork.com

  5. #5
    stevebo's Avatar
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    Thanks for the trip report! Ive been on a couple of those trails, but not as far as you went. One question, did they give you a hard time about using a hammock? (does GSMP have a policy on hammocks?) Just wondering for future reference!
    “The two most common elements in the universe are hydrogen and stupidity.”
    Harlan Ellison


    Do not walk behind me, for I may not lead. Do not walk ahead of me, for I may not follow. Do not walk beside me, either, just leave me alone.
    --unknown

  6. #6
    Senior Member GingivitisKahn's Avatar
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    Nice. The mere mention of Ramsey Cascades makes me hurt (zapped my Achilles's tendon there a year or two ago) but it sure is a pretty hike. Great pics!

  7. #7
    Poppabear's Avatar
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    Very good trip report and pictures.
    Terry

  8. #8
    Member smithbd2's Avatar
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    Thanks for the replys everyone.

    Buffalo Skipper: I parked at Greenbrier, I hiked up the Brushy Mtn trail to the Trillium Gap trail. I have already done Rainbow Falls, Bullhead and Alum Cave. I have reservations next year in October, I plan to hike the Boulevard trail then.

    stevebo: That was my second hang in the Smokeys. No one has ever said anything other than "Thats a cool set up".

    GingivitisKahn: That does not sound like fun. One couple started to ride their bikes up there. They ended up stashing them and hiking the rest of the way.

    Thanks for looking everyone.

  9. #9
    MedicineMan's Avatar
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    Excellent pics....only time I've done Laconte was with crampons on..the whole route was iced over.
    Who makes your tarp? At first I thought it was a warbonnet but my doors connect up on the ridgeline...

  10. #10
    Member smithbd2's Avatar
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    The tarp is a War Bonnet. Its the Big Mamajamba, Spinn UL with detachable doors. They do connect to the ridge line and the bottom corners. This was actually my 3rd hang in the Smokies. The first was at CS 13 in May, the other was at CS 37 in August. I didn't use the doors in August and I had to use another tarp in May because of modifications to the Big Mamba (Pull outs).

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