Big Creek – GSMNP

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Big Creek – Great Smoky Mountains National Park – February 18, 2013

 

Details:

Location: Big Creek

Distance: 3 miles, round trip.

Time: 1:24

Weather: Clear; 24 degrees.

Gear: Vasque Bitterroot Boots (Break-in day hike.) Superfeet insoles, Baselayers, MH Warlow softshell pants, Marmot fleece, TNF Hardshell jacket.

 Story:

I returned to Big Creek Trail to continue the break in on my boots. I also added Superfeet insoles and this was my first hike breaking them in. The Vasque Bitterroots have been great, and the addition of the insoles makes a big difference in the comfort and shock absorption.

I focused the camera on Big Creek itself today, as the views of the creek through the trees will be fleeting once spring hits. Big Creek makes a large U-bend and passes right below the trail:

Big Creek rushes by the trail.

Big Creek rushes by the trail.

As the creek rises to the level of the trail again, there is a flood channel that was idle. This appears to be a high water route, or was the original route and the creek has cut a new path:

A flood channel in Big Creek.

A flood channel in Big Creek.

A small tributary to Big Creek flows across the trail, with this cascade just before the crossing:

A small tributary cascades beside the trail.

A small tributary cascades beside the trail.

I stopped at the first side-trail that leads down to Big Creek to fill two 32 oz Nalgenes for added ballast to the pack on the way back down. An intense roaring upstream caught my attention, and I continued further up the trail to investigate:

An impressive cascade near Midnight Hole.

An impressive cascade near Midnight Hole.

An obvious side trail leads down to this cascade. The creek plummets over a rock ledge and down about 3 feet. Two large boulders divert the flow towards the bank then back into the channel, where it rejoins the main fall.

As the Sun was getting lower, the creek was cast into shadows, but the mountains to the East were still bathed in sunlight:

Big Creek in the shadow of the mountains.

Big Creek in the shadow of the mountains.

I packed up and headed back down the trail, catching this shadow/sunlight shot of Mount Sterling Ridge on the way back to the parking lot:

Sun and Shadow.

Sun and Shadow.

MCJ

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