Great Smoky Mountain National Park - Cataloochee Loop - January 14, 2006 - Member Trip Report

Hike Name: Great Smoky Mountain National Park - Cataloochee Loop
Country: United States
State: North Carolina
Trip Rating: 4 stars
Trip Date: January 14, 2006
Duration: 1 day
Trail Conditions: Poor
Trail Traffic: None
Trip Weather: Cloudy
Trip Winds: Moderate
Trip Precipitation: Snow
Trip Temperature: High: 21-30, Low: 0-10 degrees Fahrenheit
Trip Report: Saturday (1/14/06) – Delisle and Porter boiled up some hot water this morning for breakfast, and we had breakfast after dusting off the snow that blew into the shelter during the night. There were accumulations of 3-6" along the trail and it made for some scenic hiking today. The snow continued to fall well into the afternoon, and the winds were blowing cold air out of the northwest. We hiked the Balsam Mountain Trail down to Balsam Mountain Road where I took a lunch break and moved to the back of the pack. It was windy and cold in Pin Oak Gap, and the rest of the group moved on toward Balsam Mountain Campground. The original route had us hiking the Polls Gap Trail, but the park service closed it due to dying fir trees that have littered the route. Porter and Delisle improvised with a lengthly nine mile road walk that had very little elevation change. We spent from noon until about 5pm hiking it, and finally walked down to Balsam Mountain Campground which was closed for the winter. A ranger station was nearby, and the cement blocks that supported the building made for excellent shelter from the winds and single digit temperatures. We pitched our tents under the building, and found two chairs, a bench and a toilet seat for relaxing during the dinner hour. Delisle melted snow for dinner and drinks since there was no water source in the area, and we hung out until about 9-10pm with a full moon lighting up the area this evening.



46,350 points



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