Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Little River Trail to Goshen Prong Cascades

Little River Trail to Goshen Prong Cascades

Dana Koogler solo
10.6 miles round trip
Thursday July 12, 2012

Pictures are here:

Goshen Prong Hike Pix

Videos are here:
Goshen Prong Cascade

     I had a bad experience with trying to take Obey hiking this particular week.  I wanted to take him with me hiking to the woods and figured he'd be all about it.  Instead he ate my seat belt in the jeep and was a general pain.   I decided to go to the Smokies which I often don't because he is not welcome there.  I was put out with his behavior so he was not welcome to come along with me anyhow.  I took a notion I wanted to hike Little River Trail up to Goshen Prong Cascades.  I had this vague feeling that I had perhaps bitten off more than I could chew hiking distance wise, but I ignored it.  I had done it before and it was fine. I hiked it then in ninety-five degree weather. I'd done it before in Autumn so I knew I'd be ok.

       I wanted to see how bad the trails were damaged after the huge wind storm July 5th, 2012.    I got an early start so I didn't see anyone on the trail except a ranger on the way in.   I talked to him about the trail conditions and he said that the Little River Trail was in fine shape. He went on to say that Goshen Prong while closed to use was worst from CS 23 up to the Appalachian Trail.  I told him I planned to hike up Goshen Prong Trail just as far as the cascades and double back. 

     It seemed like no time at all and I was already at Huskey Branch Cascade.
It was gushing today and the swimming hole in the river below it was beautiful.

Huskey Branch Cascade flows beneath a bridge and into Little River.

Swimming Hole in Little River @ Huskey Branch Cascade

Little River in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, TN

Goshen Prong --one of a series of low sliding cascades

Trail damage along Goshen Prong Trail

I continued on up the trail and finally arrived at the junction with Goshen Prong Trail.  I sat down and ate my lunch and rested.  I continued down this trail and started seeing downed trees just before the metal "Goshen Gate Bridge".  Nothing too bad. Easy to step through or around thus far.  I saw some turks cap lilies also.
Pale jewelweed bloomed along the trail.  It was not long til I started seeing an increase in the amount and scope of trail damage.  Downed trees were everywhere and the further into the back country I went the worse it grew.

   At one point the downed trees were almost entirely covering the stream.
It made me feel a little sad since this is one of my favorite trails.   I hoped the cascades would not be completely clogged with trees?  

Goshen Gate Bridge-- All hikers in this area should be VERY glad for this bridge. Goshen Prong is not a stream crossing to be trifled with.  It is a wide, deep stream that would be dangerous to cross when the water is up.
Goshen Prong Trail--I never saw another soul on this trail today.

Goshen Prong Cascades--there are several along this trail. Ledge type cascades. The last one is heading up to the A.T. past the campsite. 

Turks Cap Lily along Goshen Prong Trail.

Goshen Prong

    I struggled my way through the downed trees and made it to the cascades.
I was able to take photos and video of them, but there were a couple downed trees in the way.   Not as bad as it could have been, but still torn up.
It is going to be a long time until this mess is cleared and this trail and campsite are reopened is my opinion.    It gave me a slightly bad vibe. I didn't tarry long.
I turned and headed back. I knew what was facing me in dealing with the trees again and the long hike back out.  

     I saw lots of folks on my way out. I ran into Ranger Kim DeLozier who surprised me that he remembered me from a previous meeting.   We all got rained on seriously!  It rained on my way back out and how. I put on my rain jacket. I did not bring the rain pants as it was warm.  I found that my rain coat turned into a funnel sending all the water to my crotch.  I tuned out the discomfort and continued on.
I remembered that I had a dry change of clothes in the jeep.  I had fresh dry clothes and shoes. I had snacks and cold drinks for the ride home. I could hang on til then.  The sun came out and started drying things off a little bit before I made it back to the jeep.   I was tired, stinky, muddy, bark and leaves in my hair which now looked like a Gorgon.  Blonde snakes! Every piece of hair has a mind of its own. 

      I got back to the jeep and found the parking area polluted with people.
I opened that vehicle up. Stowed my gear.  Got out my dry clothes. Shucked off the wet, dirty ones. Threw them in the back. I stood there butt nekkid with that wild wooly head and gave everyone around me a HARD LOOK daring them to say a word.  I put on my dry duds and sighed.  I climbed in and ate a snack. I drank a cold drink.  I drove home listening to some excellent tunes.  Sometimes it pays to be "Nell".  Tay hey in da wi-hin! 

Looking downstream on Goshen Prong with downed trees in the stream. 

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