Thursday, September 12, 2019

The Best Fall Hikes in the Smokies

Fall hiking season is rapidly approaching, and leaf peepers will soon be out in full force across the Great Smoky Mountains.

The beauty of the Smokies is always spectacular, but never more so than during the autumn when the mountains are ablaze with the colors of fall.

The timing of the fall color season depends upon many variables, making it virtually impossible to predict the exact date of "peak" colors in advance.

One of the most important variables is elevation. At the higher elevations in the Smokies, fall color displays begin as early as mid-September when yellow birch, American beech, mountain maple, hobblebush, and pin cherry begin to show their autumn colors. If you’re looking for good fall foliage hikes during this time period, you’ll want to be at the highest elevations in the park; however, you’ll also want to avoid hiking in areas that are predominantly spruce-fir forests.

Suggested mid-late September hikes: Andrews Bald, Mt. LeConte, the Jump-off or Rocky Top.

From early to mid-October, during most years, fall colors begin to reach their peak above elevations of 4,500 feet. Trees such as the American beech and yellow birch begin to turn bright yellow, while mountain ash, pin cherry and mountain maple show-off brilliant shades of red.

In the lower elevations you may notice a few dogwoods and maples that are just beginning to turn. You may also see a few scattered sourwood and sumac turning to bright reds as well.

Suggested early-mid October hikes: You’ll still want to hike in the higher elevations. In addition to the suggestions above, check out Gregory Bald, Mt. Cammerer, Spence Field, Albright Grove or the Sugerland Mountain Trail starting from Clingmans Dome Road.

Autumn colors usually reach their peak at mid and lower elevations between mid-October and early November. This is usually the best time to be in the park as you'll see the spectacular displays of color from sugar maples, scarlet oak, sweetgum, red maple, and hickories. Your hiking choices will have greatly expanded during this time period as well. You can continue to hike at elevation to take in the fall colors from above, or you can walk among the autumn colored trees.

Suggested mid-late October hikes: If you wish to hike at elevation for spectacular fall views try exploring the Rich Mountain Loop, Alum Cave, Hemphill Bald, Shuckstack, Bullhead, Charlies Bunion or Mt. Sterling trails. If you wish to hike among the trees, check out Baskins Creek Falls, Little River, Old Settlers or the Porters Creek Trail.

As the fall color season begins to wind down in early November, you’ll want to hike at the lowest elevations in the park. Check out the Meigs Mountain Trail, Schoolhouse Gap, Abrams Falls, Oconaluftee River Trail, Indian Falls, or the Deep Creek Loop.


Monitoring Fall Color Progress:

* To get a general idea of when leaves are approaching peak colors you can follow the fall colors report on the GSMA website.

* To get a birds-eye view on changes in fall colors, you can periodically check out the four Smoky Mountain web cams.







Jeff
HikingintheSmokys.com
RockyMountainHikingTrails.com
HikinginGlacier.com
TetonHikingTrails.com
Ramble On: A History of Hiking

Monday, September 9, 2019

How to Climb (hike) a Mountain

Below is a short video that was featured on Outside Today a few years ago. Although the title of the video was "How to Climb a Mountain", the skills discussed in this video are actually basic mountain climbing skills that most hikers will benefit from, and should have an understanding for safer passage through the mountains. The video features Rainbow Weinstock from the Colorado Mountain School:





Jeff
HikingintheSmokys.com
RockyMountainHikingTrails.com
HikinginGlacier.com
TetonHikingTrails.com
Ramble On: A History of Hiking

Friday, September 6, 2019

Quick Tips for Viewing Elk Safely

Though they may look docile, elk are very large animals capable of covering large distances quickly. Armed with sturdy antlers and powerful hooves, these animals can be very aggressive and dangerous during the fall breeding season, known as the rut, which usually takes place during the months of September and October. Find out what simple precautions you should take while viewing elk in this short video from the Great Smoky Mountains Association:



If you do plan to visit the Smokies this fall please take a few moments to check out our Accomodations Listings for a wide variety of lodging options in Gatlinburg, Townsend, Pigeon Forge and the North Carolina side of the Smokies.



Jeff
HikingintheSmokys.com
RockyMountainHikingTrails.com
HikinginGlacier.com
TetonHikingTrails.com
Ramble On: A History of Hiking

Tuesday, September 3, 2019

Bear injures a man after a surprise encounter in his kitchen

Crazy story out of Colorado last week:
A bear injured a 71-year-old man inside his Pine, Colorado home on Monday evening after entering through a screen door, and swiping the man multiple times with its claws when the two had a surprise encounter in his kitchen.

The man was downstairs watching TV with his wife when he heard noises coming from upstairs. After going up the stairs and turning a corner into his kitchen, he was face-to-face with a bear. The man and the sow then engaged in what was described as a boxing match, as the man tried to fend off this sow bear that attacked after the surprise run-in. The wife rushed upstairs and hit the bear multiple times with a baseball bat, causing the bear to run away outside of the home. A cub was inside the home with the sow, and ran away with its mother after the encounter.

The man received a number of lacerations to his face, chest and both arms. He was treated at the scene, but was not taken to a hospital.

The attacked occurred around 8:45 p.m.

Colorado Parks and Wildlife officers searched the area until approximately midnight. The search resumed at 5:30 a.m. Tuesday when a dog team from the USDA Wildlife Services arrived to aid in the effort to find the attacking bear. It was the same dog team that assisted last week with a mountain lion attack in Bailey, Colo.

By 5:50 a.m. Tuesday, the dog team had located a bear in the immediate area and over the course of the next hour, the dogs, CPW wildlife officers and the officials from the USDA Wildlife Services tracked that bear. The bear was euthanized shortly before 7 a.m., roughly 900 yards from the home where the attack occurred. The cub has not been located.

DNA samples will be sent to the University of Wyoming Forensics Lab for analysis to confirm if this is the bear from the attack. CPW policy states that when a bear attacks a human resulting in injury, that bear must be euthanized.

Wildlife officers continue to monitor the area.




Jeff
HikingintheSmokys.com
RockyMountainHikingTrails.com
HikinginGlacier.com
TetonHikingTrails.com
Ramble On: A History of Hiking