Sunday, April 1, 2012

Great Smoky Mountain National Park - Boogerman Trail

What 10-year-old doesn't want to hike a trail called Boogerman?

We tried to hike this trail during our 2010 visit but road closures prevented us from making it to the trailhead. During our 2011 trip we finally made it to the Cataloochee Valley and the Boogerman Trail.

This 8+ mile loop begins with a bridge over the Cataloochee.

After following Caldwell Fork for almost a mile, the Boogerman Trail takes off, up and over the mountain.

From Caldwell Fork, the trail climbs steeply for the next mile. As we climbed away from the main trail, we saw a few very large hemlocks.

Ross' conditioning wasn't nearly what it was the previous year and he struggled through some of the steeper trail sections.

Boogerman climbs then winds along the ridges for about three miles before finally making a descent back to Caldwell Fork. What we found before we started the descent was simply amazing! I don't know if it was an old home site, but whatever it was, it had to have taken somebody a lifetime to complete.

That stone wall was about 3feet high and had to be 100 yards long! The amazing part of it was that it was over 3,000 feet up the mountain and over four miles from the Cataloochee Valley.

Next to the wall was a make-shift shelter in the form of a tree.

Once back to Caldwell Fork it was another 3+ miles back to the trailhead. The trail crosses Caldwell Fork in five or six locations, so we stopped a couple of different times to (successfully) prospect for brookies.

Once back at the trailhead, it was time to drive through the Cataloochee Valley in search for the GSMNP elk herd.

I always carry a DSLR and a handheld video/still camera. During this hike I let Ross carry the handheld. It's interesting to see what catches his eye while we are hiking. The following photos were all taken by Ross.

Finally, before we left the Cataloochee Valley, Ross decided he would take a polar bear plunge into the Cataloochee. : )

It's less than a week before we make our annual journey to the Smokies and I can't wait to see what kind of adventures this year brings.