Smokies Retreat – 9/16/13 - Thomas Divide Trail/Stone Pile Gap Trail – 6.2 Miles
Recently I was invited to lead a mid-week hike sponsored by the Friends Of The Smokies. I snuck away a little early for an extra day and night of serenity in the mountains. Since I am working on my second go-round of hiking all the trails in the Great Smoky Mountains NP, I chose a simple half-day hike to connect a few trails in the Deep Creek area.
The hike may be interesting if it starts with a hawk feather stuck in a bratwurst at the gate
A short distance from the Thomas Divide Trail trailhead is the well-kept Watson Cemetery (also called the Wiggins Cemetery). I especially liked the nickname Fate, who probably had some interesting stories to tell. I hope he had a good 84 years.
This portion of the Thomas Divide Trail is nothing to write home about, a wide road bed that climbs steeply to the intersection with Indian Creek Motor Trail. I turned around there, but Thomas Divide continues for another 10 miles all the way Newfound Gap Road. It’s much more enjoyable when it gets up on the ridge line and narrows down to trail width.
I backtracked to Stone Pile Gap, a delightful little trail that few people bother with. Today I had some company. Forgive me in advance for my appropriation of the “Sound Of Music” selection, I couldn’t help myself. I hummed the tune for the rest of the day.
Standing in a Ray of sun
Me as quiet as can be
‘Cause Far away I knew she’d run
So I held my camera high
La …I had to hold my breath…
Has-Ty, she’s going to get away
Then I scored this photo of that Doe…
After my hike I set up home-away-from-home in the Deep Creek Campground, almost deserted on a Tuesday. It was still mid-afternoon. I dragged my camp chair down to the water, read my book, and perhaps I dozed off. Nowhere I had to be, nothing I had to do. Sublime. More people need to try this. I am certain that this world would be a better place if everyone took a nature break every once in a while.
"Keep close to nature's heart, yourself; and break clear away, once in a while, and climb a mountain or spend a week in the woods. Wash your spirit clean." ~John Muir