#18 - Alabama - Cheaha Mountain - 2,407 ft. Although this was a very easy one to get to, it was still beautiful. You can drive right up to the top but we chose to park our car about a mile away and hop on a short trail to the top.
#19 - Georgia - Brasstown Bald - 4,784 ft. - This is another one where you can drive up to a parking lot and then hike 1/2 mile to the top. But of course we can't do this. We opted to park at the bottom of the road and hike 6 miles round trip to the top and back. It was a beautiful, and steep, hike!
On our way back from this hike we picked up two hitch-hikers. Toby and Miriam are from Germany and are thru-hiking the AT (this was day 4). We took them to the town of Helen to resupply and enjoy the German style town for the evening. Hope to see you in PA on the trail. Enjoy the hike!
#20 - Tennessee - Clingmans Dome - 6,643 ft. - So this one was a little more challenging than #18 and #19. We started on our two hour drive to Smoky Mountain National Park. When we arrived we noticed the big lighted sign stating the road was closed due to snow and ice. WHAT?? It turns out they received 8-12 inches of fresh snow the night before and conditions were not good (we had read the forecast and it was only for ONE inch!). We turned back to Cherokee for some lunch and decided to head back up the road in hopes that it was going to open in a few hours and we could head over to Gatlinburg for the evening and start our climb the next morning. On our way up the road a tree decided to fall right in front of us! YIKES! We decided to take the recommended detour (2 more hours) over to Gatlinburg, toured Cades Cove and called it an evening. The road to Clingmans Dome remained closed although the main road through the park had reopened. This was problematic as we planned to hike the 8 miles to the top of Clingmans Dome and hitch-hike back down. Thankfully the next morning was a beautiful sunny day and they were able to reopen the road. We put on our snow hiking apparel and headed up the mountain for a beautiful 8 miles trek to the top. A nice man from Ohio was kind enough to take us back down after our trek. Thank you!
In the next few weeks we plan to hit 5 more high points - VA, KY, WV, MD and PA. Half way!
Til next time...Happy Trails!