Hiking The Chestnut Tops Trail In The Smokies!
By Rachelle Siegrist
Last Friday was a beautiful day, albeit a cold one, so Wes and I decided to spend a couple of hours outdoors hiking in the nearby Smokies. Arriving at the trailhead for Chestnut Tops, we suited it up, grabbed our hiking sticks and were off. We plodded up hill, climbing the narrow winding path that leads up and up, to where it eventually twists around the mountain. I must admit we were both quite happy when the path twisted its way around to the south side of the mountain where the sun was streaming down!
The moss was obviously very happy to be feeling the warmth of the sun too, and was growing everywhere! It was as lush and soft as I’ve ever seen and felt it, and I couldn’t resist stopping all along the way, as each bend in the trail brought bigger and fluffier clumps! We soon caught glimpses of distant mountains, which looked as if a huge sifter had been used to gently sprinkle powdered sugar across the tops!
As we continued to climb in elevation, scant amounts of powdery snow lay in the shadows, so I decided to stop and build a miniature snowball, which was almost impossible with the wee amounts of snow, but fun to try nonetheless!
Later on we passed through one section where a little more snow still lay atop the leaves.
We continued hiking for quite sometime, whilst enjoying the solitude and amazing peace and quiet found only in the woods! Occasionally a bird would sing and at one point we could hear the rushing water of the river in the distance. Growing later in the day, the sun started sinking behind surrounding mountains and we knew the temperature was going to start dropping, so we thought it best to head back. We choose wisely, as it grew even colder quite fast, and what were baby icicles, had grown immensely since we had past them on the way up!
I think this may have been the first time I had ever seen icicles forming from a downed tree stump! It was definitely getting colder, and with the wind picking up, we certainly didn’t sweat as we hiked back down the trail! It was a beautiful afternoon and wonderful hike, leaving me feeling very refreshed and with my batteries recharged!
~ Fresh Off The Easel ~
I recently finished my painting of a frog which I saw and photographed while walking one of the boardwalk trails near St. Petersburg, FL last October. He was great fun to paint and helped me feel warm, while thinking of being in the swamps in Florida! Wes came up with the wonderfully clever title of “Somebody’s Prince“!
I also finished my miniature painting of a beautiful Bobwhite Quail, which I painted on silk, and will debut at the upcoming Southeastern Wildlife Exposition in Charleston, SC in a couple of weeks.
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Until next time . . .