Great Smoky Mtns. National Park : Newtons Bald

Date: January 14-15, 2001
Location: Great Smoky Mountains National Park
Trail : 9.8 Miles Nights: 1 Campsite: Newton’s Bald - Campsite # 52

Members : James "Bomber" Brown, Tim "Two -Pole" Webb, Gary" Whiteman" White, Steve "Steve" Gamble, Derrick "Grace" Gossett, Nena "Nena" Brown, and Rick "Eight" Harris.

After enjoying a hearty breakfast at the Timbers Restaurant in Townsend, the group parted for the Thomas Divide Trail. Surviving a slip-sliding ride up and down New Found Gap Road, the SWHC unload gear beneath a sunny-blue sky amid temperatures in the mid-40’s. "Two-Pole" and "Whiteman" shuffled vehicles while the rest of us begin ascending the snow covered trail. An accident on New Found Gap almost cost "Two-Pole" and "Whiteman" a severe delay in returning to the trailhead, but their fast-thinking and silvered-speech convinced the Park Ranger to allow their passing the accident scene. Meanwhile, the SWHC on the hike. The snow/ice covered trail made for a cautiously slow pace. The leafless trees, and the clear sky, allowed some beautiful views of the Srnokies. Other than the absence of other hikers, only an unoccupied orange/blue tent pitched at Newtow’ s bald seemed out of the ordinary. However, some interesting speculation buzzed our minds.

Steve was the first to arrive at Newton’s Bald after an approx. two hour hike. "Eight" was was next to arrive, and along with Steve gathered wood for a fire. "Two-Pole" was the next to arrive, followed soon by "Whiteman". The campsite began to come alive as tents were pitched and the fire grew larger. Grace, one of the first-time overnighters enter camp followed closely by "Bomber" and Nena, our other first-time overnighter. Hands and toes were thawed along with boots and socks. "Two-Pole" and "Whiteman" made a water run some fifty yard from camp, and upon their return supper was started. Many different treats were enjoyed: Chili, Shrimp, noodles, chicken soup, potatoes, cheese and crackers, tea, hot-chocolate, and coft’ee. Everyone changed clothes and began to ease towards the night. "Eight" was the first to turn in, and probably the last to go to sleep. The night was interrupted by the sounds of a "heavy-duty-logging-operation" which set-up near, or possibly in, the tent occupied by "Bomber" and "Nena". The only time the saw quieted was while "Bomber" was on a midnight "potty-run".

Morning came early finding Steve hovering over a bed of coals getting the morning fire rekindled. Moans and groans filled the air as each emerged from their warm bags. Breakfast was an assortment of foods and hot drinks. After breakfast the campsite was loaded and the trek down to New Found Gap Road was under way. "Eight", "Two-Pole", and "Steve" left first, soon follow by the others. Both turkey and deer tracks were seen along the trail. An overcastted sky refused the views so enjoyed on Saturday. The trail was covered with snow the first two miles, but cleared as the rapid decent revealed the fallen leaves and soft earth. After shuffling vehicles, and shopping in Townsend for groceries all returned to the cabin for HOT showers, DRY clothes, and some FINE eats.

Submitted this the 6th day of February in 2001 by "Eight".

Club members Derrick Gossett,  Steve Gamble,  Tim "Two-Pole" Webb,  Rick " Eight " Harris,
Bomber Brown,  Gary "Whiteman" White and Nena Brown brave the cold at Newtons Bald campsite 52