Balsam Mountain

Date: Thursday–Sunday, August 12–15, 2010
Location: Balsam Mountain, Great Smoky Mountains National Park, North Carolina
Trails: Spruce Mountain, Palmer Creek
Members: John, Foster, Danny, Charlie, Owen, Gary

SWHC at Balsam Mountain, August 2010 The August outing of the Sipsey Wilderness Hiking Club actually started a day early with people leaving Alabama on Thursday. Owen and Charlie traveled together and had a good trip to the Balsam Mountain campground, Danny and Gary went in Danny's new truck pulling his mobile mansion and had a good trip with a stop in Knoxville to visit a friend.

John and Foster came along last and Foster left home before his wallet did, of course this may have been a ploy on Foster's part to get John to pay for his trip. Of course this backfired on Foster as soon as he met the Tennessee state trooper. Word is that when the trooper asked him why he was driving so fast he said "when you get my age you have to drive fast so that you will get there before you forget where you are going". But by dark everyone had made it safely to camp and of course enjoyed a fine evening meal.

Friday morning dawned to a gourmet breakfast and then discussion as to what to do. Danny and Gary decided to hike up the Spruce Mountain trail and then ride to Clingmans Dome to see the new store and improvements as well as to blow off speaking to John Glenn in favor of talking to a trail maintenance worker. The other members decided to stay in camp to watch the bears lounge around then to ride to Waynesville and support its local economy. All met back at camp to tell of their adventures and pool their blackberries in order to make cobblers to go with the steak supper.

During the night a deluge fell from the sky bringing concerns about the safety of Owen in his tiny tent but all apparently fared well and rose early to plan the days outing. Danny volunteered to be the driver and took the hikers to the top of the Palmer Creek Trail then drove to Cataloochee to pick them up.

Camping at Balsam Mountain
On the hike The hike was great with several creek crossings along footlogs and easy travel mainly along an old jeep trail. It was discussed several times that we were missing someone to explain the unusual vegetation. The hike ended before the rain started but the rain was just about finished by the time the group got back to camp. After another excellent meal and a few tall tales around the campfire all wandered to their respective beds, this time with Owen deciding to rent a space in Foster's tent.

Sunday morning started with some rising before daylight in order to get an early start on their other trip in the Park and after another good breakfast camp was cleaned up and we departed on our separate ways.

Submitted 03 Sep 2010
Text & Photos: Whiteman

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