Great Smokey Mountains

10/31 – 11/2

Sherri and I

Sherri asked me what time I wanted to leave Friday. I said Thursday! So right after work Thursday we left and headed to our hotel in Cherokee. The GPS said to turn on the Blue Ridge Parkway. We did and at the top of the turn – road closed? Google maps knows everything but it didn’t know that! We went 19 all the way to Cherokee. We checked in and told the motel clerk we were going hiking and wanted a room with Mountain View’s.

We got up at 7 was going to a real breakfast then head to Charlie’s Bunion. We didn’t get to do it last time so we are real excited. We turned on 441 and just as we get to the visitors center the sign says “road closed” well we didn’t buy that and kept going. Sure enough it’s closed! We head to the visitors center and hear the lady explaining the BRP and 441 all the way to Gatlinburg are closed because of big storms that came through yesterday! WTH! We aren’t going to get to Charlie’s Bunion again!!! 🤬 We grab a map and try to make an alternate plan.

We found a nice waterfall hike in the southwest corner of the GSMNP near Bryson City. We followed the GPS and next thing we know we have to turn around because a tractor has fallen off a trailer! Seriously? So now the GPS takes us down a dirt road along a river that is inches from overflowing this road!

But we made it to the closed campground but where is the trailhead? Luckily some people are walking and point us to the trailhead. It’s a popular one. It’s called Deep Creek. They have a 2 mile waterfall loop. We elect to do a large loop including the waterfall loop.

It’s a beautiful trail along the creek. The first waterfall is Tom’s Branch Falls. It’s an 80 foot waterfall across the creek.

Walk a little further and we come to Indian creek Falls. It’s down a short side path.

Once we left this falls we never saw a soul. We did see a lot of beautiful fall colors.

The trail did quite a bit of up so that was good practice for tomorrow! Just as we were coming back to the waterfall loop we see a sign that says cemetery. We can’t help but follow this trail! On closer look at the sign someone wrote .7 mile all uphill. 😳.

They were not kidding. This trail was a constant uphill battle. Then it turned to the right and got steeper. At the top was 3 headstones. Someone had made an outline and crosses with branches.

It was Violet, Theodore snd Guy Wiggins. I googled and all I could find was it was 5 children who died. No timeframe or homestead or anything. The headstones were newish and definitely not the originals.

We made the trek down to the trail. Took it towards the loop. We came up on 3 men on horseback and 2 spare packhorses. They were loaded down with camping equipment.

We hit the waterfall loop and on the sign was a laminated card with a verse or song and a girls pic and some info of someone who passed.

Sherri thought this was a cool thing and we discussed me spreading her ashes on some of her favorite hikes. 😃 I saw a thing where they ball you up and grow a tree out of you. I think I’ll do that. 🤣

Then we hit the last waterfall. Juney Whank Falls. It was a nice one coming over a rock with a bridge.

A man told us at the top of the falls the water was coming out of a pipe. A faux falls?! We didn’t go verify this it would be very disappointing. We headed back to the car.

This was no Charlie’s bunion but a good hike none the less. It was 7 miles. Since it was still early I got Sherri to drive to Alarka falls because it’s on my list in Bryson City. This is one of those at the end of a dirt road falls. No one maintains the trail. We parked at the end and followed the trail up. The trail became a rocky water runoff. I didn’t walk all the way to the falls but got close enough for a pic.

It’s a huge waterfall. Well back down the trail and into the car and we head back to Cherokee. We are going to Pizza inn and I can’t wait! We are hiking Mt. Cammerer tomorrow so i can eat as much pizza as i want!

4 thoughts on “Great Smokey Mountains

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  1. I like the song verse on the back of the card and all those waterfalls, although, I don’t recall a big drop waterfall at Alarka. My memory thought it was more of a river with lots of cascades. Maybe we didn’t walk/run far enough. We were rushing to see that one before a pre-bought GSMR train ride. I love an over near Cherokee at Sunset. I forget the number. Geez, it’s a good thing I have my blog to tell me what I’ve done. 🙂 You two were sure troopers going to plan B, then, C, then D…. I have a website I *try* to remember to check showing the BRP road closures. I have had it tell me the road was closed, yet it was reopened when we got to it, and open when trees came down and they closed it after I looked that morning. Not sure I can add a link here but this is the site. https://www.nps.gov/blri/planyourvisit/roadclosures.htm

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks ! They closed it that day! Alarka May have looked that way but all that rain it was a giant waterfall. We met a man lives on that road says he can see the top from his porch in the winter months! I have 2 more to get in Bryson city Bear Creek and upper Bear creek

      Liked by 1 person

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