what with Dave closing out his last 100 miles in the Smokies, Highlander hikes have taken on a higher level of 'strategery'. in anticipation of its winter closing, we set off down Noland Divide from Clingman's Dome Road to Noland Creek and along to campsite 63. along the way, we stopped at CS 61 to break the Leave What You Find tenet of Leave No Trace...
... to clean up a disaster left by horse riders. hopefully Jeff won't report our 'outlaw asses' over this.
i think we did pretty good, guys. gold stars all around!
actually, we didn't have any gold stars in the backcountry so we had to make do with campfire lasagna:
the boys were none too impressed as you can see, just barely able to choke it down...
in the morning, i got up early and just sat, soaking up the amazing chatter from the creek. Dave, ever on a mission for new miles, was heading out early to hike up Springhouse Branch trail to the Forney Ridge junction and back. i tagged along for the show. we met back up with the rest of the group at campsite 64 after i was only almost trampled by an overeager horserider. the whole gang hiked out Noland Creek together. [18.4 miles]
John, Jerky Mike, Jack, Ricky Bobby, Doug, me and Dave
the whole shebang can be found here: