Woke up and left Gatlinburg with some time for day hiking before the next destination. Cold and wet weather killed most of our planned hikes, but we decided to try our luck on Max Patch, one of the most popular viewpoints along the Appalachian Trail. Remember that smoky fog from yesterday?
Well that doesn’t look too bad, right? Driving the windy back roads at lower elevation was dry and fun. Driving up the gravel mountain road to the trailhead wasn’t bad except…
“Come to Tennessee in November, it’ll be warmer than Wisconsin” people said. Kelly may be right that I’m weather cursed. Or maybe the elevation, but hey I’m no rocket surgeon. No matter – we reached the trailhead!
Temps were 20s or colder with a decent wind chill – downright balmy! No panoramic 360-degree views of mountain peaks like the brochures, but the fog combined with blowing precip gave an eerie but pleasant atmosphere. Reed seemed to be enjoying the snow. Found another USGS survey marker too!
We did the loop clockwise because some other hikers tried the counter-clock route and said it was closed. Trail was very slippery coming down without any spikes on our shoes. Took some photos of Kelly during the descent staring into the desolation – 3 different perspectives just for fun.
After a brief, chilly hike we crawled down the mountain and headed towards Newport for the next hotel. Snow slowly disappeared about 1/2 way down, and once back on the parkway the final signs of fall color could still be found.
No distance records were broken but definitely a unique day to hike this area. Silver lining? This qualifies us as official AT section hikers. Only 2,199 more miles to go!Lat = 35.7970467 , Long = -82.9568100 -- Show at Google Maps