Saturday, March 3, 2012

Camping in the Appalachian Range

If there is anything that I like of the American,,,,, it is their liking for outdoors. This said…… it’s not that the  Europeans and the British do not like outdoors, but the American is more adventurous. They hike and camp in the rough rugged terrain of America  in groups or as loners frequently and document their personnel experiences.

Camping in the Smokies of the Appalachian Mountain Range was to be a novel experience to me from Sri Lanka’s premier outbound school in the hills of Gurutalawa, where hiking, running cross-country in the rain and camping in the  forested cool hillsides around Horton plains being the order of school life then in the 60’s. 

The Appalachian in October
 Across the summit of Appalachian

The Appalachian crossing borders
Having missed the opportunity to camp in the Everglades for climatic reasons on a short visit to Naveen, Bhagya and their son Mevan who was just one year old living in Florida; the  trip to the Appalachian  mountains  at the right time during the fall in October when the hills put out a array of colours was most welcoming although needing detailed planning. A  travel  distance of over 1000 kilometers from Miami up north  cutting across  Georgia, South & North Carolinas all the way to Gatlinburg in Tennessee. 



Appalachian creates many hues every October

Foremost was a reliable mode of conveyance. We rented a Honda motor car for the trip. The bear minimum requisites of camping gear, warm clothes and baby food took much of the boot area which filled to capacity.

The departure from Miami was planned at 10.00 pm with the baby asleep, but  was delayed by an hour looking for a missing cable for the Garmin navigator. Finally it was decided to proceed on the the interstate highway to the border of Georgia and purchase a compatible cable in the morning.
Tired an weary through a crammed travel, we rested  at Sandy Beach Park, Moseley Georgia for over two hours napping and feeding the baby as planned.



 Sandy Beach Park Moseley Georgia [Osprey and Mallard in lake that create the beach]  

The second leg of the travel commenced with the aid of the navigator but the distance and the time taken was very much more than expected in the foggy climate in the hilly terrain. However the destination for the night was reached by 10.00 pm, the  River Edge Motor Lodge, in Gatlinburg, Tenancy.  


 River Edge Motor Lodge and Gatlinburg Inn

After a good nights' sleep we joined the  holidaying crowds in Gatlinburg that come alive every fall when many visit to see the  forest turn into a  to  multiple  hues. Also being just before  Halloween  the festivities was to be very much.



Holidaymakers during Halloween time

We checked out by mid day and was at the Elkmont camping ground by evening; tents were put up even though the forecast for the night was heavy to moderate showers. Cooked a can of beans and some soup in a heavy drizzle, fanning and blowing into the dampened firewood; when suddenly, the sky come down.

Setting up camp before night fall
Elkmont campsite

 Before the skies came down

A soggy situation in heavy wind was watched from within the car when the guy ropes of the tent flysheet giving away  and rain beating on the tent fabric direct. Such camping experience was not for a baby. Hemamala and I needed to brave the situation and decided to stay back while the baby with the parents had no choice except for the  River Edge Motor Lodge.

The flysheet was put back firmly when the wind died down and  were now lying in sleeping bags sans sleep waiting for the next thing to happen, while the rain continued into a black chilly night. A hour passed, and another when we now got the feeling of lying down on unset jelly. We had laid an extra  ground sheet under the tent and rain water was trapped between them and the water moving under us giving this jellylike feeling.

An extra long night had passed when morning came.The tents were dried and re-packed into the car and we proceeded to Cosby a distant campsite where the weather was to be favorable. Cosby was dry though chilly and the night being very cold. The warm clothing was able to keep us comfortable with the baby and all four in one tent, our body heat trapped within the tent fabric doing the trick for a good night’s sleep.Even the baby slept tight till morning. An extremely memorable camping trip.

The Cosby campsite



 Grilled frankfurters and boiled rice for dinner

On the return it was with much aspiring feelings that we set foot on the famous  Appalachian Nature Trail that traverse the Appalachian summit. A distance of approximately 2,184 miles (3,515 km) that takes almost six months to complete on foot. Sections of it is traversed by many. Naveen made a vow to come back after his graduation for a week’s backpacking on the bear inhabited trail. A wish that would never come true for me.

The Appalachian Nature Trail with regulation

 We have been on the Appalachian Trail

On the way back a traffic jam extending almost a mile on either side was due to a mother bear and  cub displaying acrobatics on a way side tree.



No comments:

Post a Comment