Trampin' to Gregory Bald

Me on Gregory Bald
Last Sunday my wife and I hiked to Gregory Bald, this was our second attempt at hiking the trail, the first trip ended early due to illness and a late start.  We took Gregory Ridge Trail route up to the bald. The first part of the trail, the 1.9 mi. to campsite 12, is fairly close to a cakewalk, but the trail takes a rather abrupt vertical turn after the campsite.

The first part of the trail is a bit of a cakewalk.

The trail, both before and after the campsite is thickly wooded and in some places covered with rhodies, there are three stream crossings, all on log bridges, two of them are sturdy and well made ( the first and the third one if I remember correctly) and the third one is rather sketchy, the wood is starting rot and the hand rail on one side is pulling away from where it connects to the bridge.

The "Sketchy" log bridge.
Campsite 12, at 1.9 miles is the most convenient place to stop prior to the uphill portion of the hike. At this point you've only climbed 500' in elevation over the first two miles only 2520' more feet to climb in the next three. For those of you keeping score that's an average of 840' of upward elevation change per mile.

Campsite 12
After a quick rest at the campsite we hiked on, the trail starts rising quickly after leaving. This post campsite climb was fairly strenuous for me, but I was feeling good, and wanted to make good time on the trip up, so I was pushing a bit harder than I should have.  The trail runs through a couple of scrubby areas where the trees have been cleared out either from fire or disease, these areas provide some nice views of the surrounding mountain and give a wonderful opportunity to rest while snapping a few pictures.

Mountain views from along the trail
On the climb up we had to break frequently for water and rests to catch our breath.  I occasionally find this embarrassing when some 20-something comes across me huffin' and puffin' and then continues trucking on past me without having even broken a sweat. Of course he's probably not recovering from a decade or so of seriously abusing his body, so that makes me tougher ;p, It takes some serious effort to move my 280 lbs body + pack up a climb like that. but now for the part that made this hike really worth the effort, the Bald. for me words can't really convey the beauty of Gregory Bald, but a few pictures might help...
The views from Gregory Bald are amazing

More amazing views

Gregory Bald is also popular with the local birds
We stayed at the bald for about an hour sitting on the grass and having lunch enjoying the cooler temperatures on the bald, of course time to depart eventually came and we had to leave.  I had dreaded the hike back to the trail head for a couple of reasons, first I had stiffened up a bit while relaxing on the Bald and it always takes time for the muscles to start moving comfortably again. Second the sternum strap on my pack had broken a couple weeks ago and I forgot to have my wife, Mindy fix it (I can't sew to save my life) so my pack had been riding weird all day and my shoulder muscles were screaming at me (note to self, get that fixed). This of course made me cranky as well as slow, I think I was so slow going back down that it actually took longer going back down then it did going up. Despite the rough trip down from the Bald, I would hike it again. Though next time, maybe in September, when most of the tourists have left, because the worst part of the hike was trying to get out of Cades Cove at Sunset.  I mean with shots like this one

Shot on the Cades Cove loop road on the way home, by my wife, Mindy
who wouldn't stop to take a picture.

All of my photos (and some of my wife's really good ones) for this hike are here.

See ya'll on the trail

No comments:

Post a Comment