Monday, July 31, 2017

Mingus Creek Trl, Alum Cave Trl and Asheville Breweries, NC

Must wrap up the Great Smokey Mountains NP!  Lots of great hiking there, it is really hard to go wrong.  Do have my favorites though.  I think my top two of the hikes we did are the Alum Cave Trl and the Abrams Falls Trl.  I have already put up pics of the Abrams Falls Trail and this post has Alum Cave, which is not really a cave but a very large overhang/bluff with some great views.

We did a short trail, due to weather, at the end of the Lake View Drive.  This road dead ends abruptly at a tunnel. For some reason, the park never finished the road.  We saw another bear on this trail though bringing out total in the park to 4 bears!  

The Mingus Creek Trail is just another ;) lovely forest trail with lots of shrooms to take pics of:

This trail starts at the Mingus Grist Mill

Mingus Creek

 We drove to Asheville for an afternoon because they have lots of breweries there and some good sour beers!!  They also had many other very nice beers but this area of the country does some nice sours and that is not the norm. Since I love them, this has made me very happy;)
The Funkatorium.......

lots of barrel aged beers and
many other yummy varieties!
Mike found good IPAs
yes, all sours and they had more!

Hi-Wire Brewery
another place with some
great sours;)
another morning in the NP

We started out on this trail
knowing it was going to
rain and figured we would
do as much as we could. Alum
Cave was our goal and anything
else would be gravy:)

note the round "window" in the ridge

yes, this was my favorite trail
 We made it about a half mile past Alum Cave when it started raining which we knew would/could
go on for hours.  We headed back down and got quite the shower:)
Great day and great time in Smokey Mountains NP!

Saturday, July 29, 2017

Rainbow Falls Trl,Cherokee Indian Museum, Soco Falls and Flat Creek Trl, GSMNP

There are some 800 miles of trails in the Great Smokey Mtns. NP.  We will have only done a few of those miles....maybe we will have to return here some day!

The toughest factor in hiking this time of year, of course, is the humidity. It is pretty rough and has definitely limited our hiking distances.  Very happy to report that the mosquitoes have been almost non-existent...and the ticks!  Nice not having to deal with those pests!

We have moved on to our next stop but I will still have a couple more posts coming for the GSMNP!

Rainbow Falls Trail, near Gatlinburg on the Tennessee side of the park!

small falls on the way to Rainbow Falls

Rainbow Falls

heading home that day we had to stop for elk crossing the road!!

Very nice museum well
done and informative

wood carving outside the museum of Sequoyah, the Indian who wrote down the Cherokee language

Soco Falls, just down the road from where we stayed at the Happy Holiday Campground

a lone elk on the way to Flat Creek Trail, unusual to see a female alone

In Sylva we stopped at Innovation Brewing for some great sours!!!

Ah the Smokies!

Monday, July 24, 2017

Cade Cove and Bears!, GSMNP

Yes, this a 2 post day because I have to upload these from the Indian casino parking lot as that is where we can get connectivity right now!;)  So when I get the chance....

Cade Cove is in the western area of the NP.  It is bear country and so we were hoping....  We decided to do the Abrams Falls Trail. On the drive out we saw elks in the mist at the Oconoluftee visitor center and wild turkeys in Cade Cove....

note the ears poking up from a baby in the grass!

we have seen wild turkeys several times

There are many wooden structures throughout the park including a few churches and some 200 cemeteries!

the trail follows the river which helps with the temp.....a bit
 Our first bear sighting was on the trail and I heard the bear before we saw it come down a steep slope right next to us on the trail!  He was very intent on searching for food right next to the river:

Abrams Falls, very pretty!

old homestead
 Our second and third bears for the day were together up on a hill and very hard to get pics of:

Just off the road a popular spot for swimming and jumping!!

this falls is at the swim hole, these falls are dangerous and many people have died in falls at the park unfortunately

these young guys were fearless

One more hike that day, Laurel Falls Trail

later afternoon view from Laurel Falls Trail

and another nice mushroom!

Beer and dinner at Smokey Mountain Brewery in Gatlinburg

evening view heading back to Cherokee
Elk in the meadow at dusk:

US Army Corp of Engineers Park, Iowa City, IA

Mike and I love it when we can find a COE park because they are always on water and our last stop at Coralville Lake was no exception.  A bi...