Last week we attended the Spring Wildflower Pilgrimage in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park.
We got to Elkmont campground by 11:30am and saw signs that said “Campground Full” so we pulled in anyway to ask them if the other campgrounds were full. When asked, they said they were not full and the rangers didn’t take the sign down yet. We got site D3 and it was a great site. Our friends Dan and Sherry arrived the same day and set up across the street from us. A few days later when the site beside on on the creek came open, they moved next to us.
On Monday we all hiked to the White Oak Sinks and it was an awesome hike. We started on the Schoolhouse Gap Trail off Little River Rd. (heading towards Cades Cove). We turned left at a turn stile to keep animals off the trail. It was a tough hike but well worth it. On Tuesday the four of us hiked on the Maddron Bald Trail to the Albright Grove Trail where we saw really old huge trees! We went for dinner at the Texas Road House but it wasn’t very good at all.
On Wednesday morning we went on the Edible Mushrooms Hike where we learned that there were more than 3000 different fungi in the park. You shouldn’t eat wild mushrooms raw and you should cook morels for 7 to 8 minutes. Raw mushrooms have carcinogens in them. A book that was recommended was Mushrooming With Confidence. On Wednesday afternoon, we went on a wildflower hike on Cucumber Gap. We saw a lot of wildflowers but the best part was when we came across a bear!
Thursday morning was started with a wildflower hike at the Cove Hardwood Trail at the Chimneys Picnic Area. It was a fun hike! We also saw three bears that day! In the afternoon we hiked the Ashhopper Branch Trail and saw 6 yellow lady slippers! Then we hiked to Cataract Falls before going out to dinner.
On Friday we started to do the Forest Foods and Pharmacy hike but it started to rain hard. We found out that Don’s jacket was not waterproof and he was getting soaked so we left. We packed up camp and headed home.
Original Photo by Pat Hensley