Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Road Trip Recap - Day 5 - GSM, Chimney Tops and Horses

Day five of our Great Smoky Mountains trip. We are hiking the Chimney Tops Trail, which climbs up to a height of 4,840 feet and 360 degrees views of the park. Short, only 2 miles but somewhat strenuous hike leads up to a huge metamorphic rock that characterizes the capstones of the Chimney Tops.

[I was able to take that photo without ND filter and without the tripod, it was an early morning in the woods, not too much sunlight, camera was set on the floor of the bridge]

The trail starts somewhat easy, crossing three bridges on the boulder filled river, and then it becomes little bit more difficult, until you get to the point where you see the tops and wonder if it's worth the risk to try to go all the way up. Well, I stayed, I didn't feel like I could do it, and didn't want to risk my life climbing the rocky top.

 [My three musketeers coming down the Chimney]

So I guess you can go behind the rock, then climb up to the top and after that of course you have to come down somehow. Well, as you can see on the picture - you literally have to crawl down on your butt and hope that you don't fall down. The pictures actually don't do the justice here. Really. It looks much easier than it really is. 

[Lots of destructing tree branches with an amazing view behind them, and the steep drop]

We started the hike around 10 am, and got back down to the parking area around 3 pm, and we were starved. But, first thing first - the Sugarland's Stables were closing in 2 hours so we rushed over to the next adventure - riding horses in the Smoky's. 

It sounded like fun at first, but we quickly realized that we have to follow a trail and ride in a group of 8 people/horses. My horse seemed little tired and i felt really bad for her. Logging extra 125 pounds on her back! How vegan of me???

Here is a photo taken by a stable photographer: Tim - on the short horse-donkey, no offense Mighty Mouse! Me on the amber colored Ching Ching, Ania and Marcin on ... i can't remember the names...

Starved to death, we headed back to Gatlinburg to have dinner and relax after a fun day. Tomorrow is our last day at the Smoky's, we are driving through Little River Road, Laurel Creek Road going to Cades Cove and hiking to Ambram's Falls.

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