Piney Falls State Natural Area

Last stop for this Tennessee journey was Piney Falls State Natural Area.  After leaving Ozone Falls I had almost no cell service and had to rely on loose notes & Google map printouts.  Took a chance and eventually found the trailhead – no surprise, with sunset looming I was the only one here. The start of the … Read more

Ozone Falls State Natural Area

Time was moving quickly today, and the sun was getting noticeably lower on the horizon.  Next stop was Ozone Falls State Natural Area, a smaller park with a tall waterfall. I visited the lower section via the Plunge Pool Trail.  Along the way, there is a cave eroded in the cliffs called Gambler’s Den with … Read more

Great Smoky Mountains National Park – Laurel Falls

Laurel Falls - View across the valley from the trail

There are no shortages of hikes or waterfalls in Great Smoky Mountains National Park, and luckily my next stop wasn’t far after leaving Cataract Falls.  Only several miles up the road, Laurel Falls is another popular short day hike.  Parking at the trail head was a battle – likely due to the Thanksgiving holiday and kids … Read more

Great Smoky Mountains National Park – Cataract Falls

Cataract Falls - Trail sign

Left Newport this morning and bid Kelly farewell; she was heading east for work and I had to go west for tomorrow’s outbound flight.  Sunshine and 40 degree temps made for excellent hiking weather (something we could have used the last few days).  Oh well, onward to make the most of my limited time here! … Read more

Newport, TN

Newport, TN - Sunny views across a field

Nothing super exciting in Newport, Tennessee – especially on a Sunday afternoon if you aren’t at church.  Kelly had to study so hiking was a no-go.  Daylight was running short so I just wandered around exploring the area.  I’m mainly adding this to drop pins on my live G-map, but there a few points of … Read more

Max Patch Mountain

Max Patch Mountain - Kelly looking down the trail

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 … Read more

Gatlinburg, TN

Gatlinburg - Diabeetus Drive-Thru

Stayed overnight in Gatlinburg because it was close to the Smokies.  The area is very tourist-y with many shops & attractions but we didn’t have time for most of these things.  Directly behind the hotel there was a small rapids/waterfall – seems like these are everywhere! Aside from putting pins in my live G-map, I … Read more

Clingmans Dome

Clingmans Dome - Kelly posing in front of the amazing foggy views

Several days into the trip and we finally made it to the Great Smoky Mountain National Park.  First stop was Clingmans Dome, the highest point in Tennessee and the infamous Appalachian Trail.  Views here looking over the mountain range are normally quite amazing, however today Mother Nature had other plans. Driving up the 7 mile … Read more

Burgess Falls State Park

Burgess Falls State Park - Hiking with Kelly & Reed

My friend Kelly finished work early and we finally got to hike together!  Due to limited daylight we headed to nearby Burgess Falls State Park which is south of Cookeville in Putnam County.  Reed a.k.a “Darkness“, the black lab in photos, loves hiking and is extremely well-behaved (although she gets slightly excited for squirrels).  A … Read more