Fall in the Smokies Part 2 continues my first full day where Fall in the Smokies Part 1 left off.
I headed back into the park and after a brief stop at Sugarlands Visitor Center, I headed up Tremont road to the Great Smoky Mountains Institute at Tremont to hike to Spruce Flat Falls. The somewhat little-known trail is only a 2.0 mile roundtrip but it is of moderate difficulty and includes some steep, rocky sections. You park at the Institute and then head up the trail. The trail is very narrow, nonexistent in some places and not well maintained. Between this hike and the hike to Alum Cave Bluffs, my fear of heights was getting quite the workout. The last part of the trail to the fall is a steep decent to the falls. Two boys were sitting on the trail blocking the path. I finally made it to the falls, found a good spot but not before slipping on the rocks trying to get down to the spot. I set up my camera and then had to wait patiently for people to get out of the way. You could hike up to the middle of the falls and cross over but after the hike that morning and knowing I still had to hike back, I decided against it.
One particular young man decided to stand on a rock right in the middle of of the falls blocking my view. I was not happy because he stood there talking to what I assume is his girlfriend for at least 5 minutes with no consideration for the other people at the falls. Finally the group of students from the Institute left and the guy and his girlfriend finally got out of the way so I was able to take my photos.
I headed back to the car. I apparently did not turn where I was supposed to so instead of going on the narrowest part of the trail, I ended up hiking down some of the buildings at the Institute and walked up the road to where my car was. I was originally going to head over to Newfound Gap for sunset photos but I was just too tired and sore.
I headed back to the hotel where I had to check in again. Monday night was a different reservation that I had made months after the initial Tuesday-Friday reservation and even though I booked the king size bed room for both reservations, I had a different room number. While my photos were uploading in my computer, I walked over to the Diner next door for dinner. Since I had forgotten my reading glasses, I got an order of potato skins to go and headed back to the hotel. I edited a few of the photos, wrote the first blog post and then got ready for bed.
According to my pedometer, at the end of the day I had 22,443 steps, 8.6 miles and the equivalent of 112 flights of steps. All from two hikes. Gotta love elevation hikes. No wonder I was so tired.