Out of my entire family, which is 13 other people, Maddy is the only one who I can find to go hiking with me.
They all tell me it’s boring and it’s just walking. My mom even said she’d rather walk around town and window shop! Who doesn’t like hiking?
But, it’s ok because Maddy and I always have the best times together. It’s kinda cool to be able to take just her and have some sister time in the mountains.
The other day we were camping near NOC(Nantahala Outdoor Center), which is one of the spots where the Appalachian Trail passes through, I had a huge urge to get higher into the mountains! It was time for a new adventure. I grabbed Maddy and we hit the Appalachian Trail South of NOC. Eddy, our dog, tagged along with us.
We started early at 9:30. It was a chilly and foggy morning!
The trail head is a little hard to find if you haven’t been there before. You have to cross the Nantahala River and US 74 and head towards Silvermine Road, the trail head will be on you left.
The trail starts out pretty easy, which is good, with many switchbacks making the climb up the mountainside not so steep.
The whole trail was gorgeous, especially during the fall! The colors were gorgeous. Maddy pointed out this bright red tree in the middle of a ton of green ones.
In many parts of the AT the forest is so dense and there were so many trees that you couldn’t see through them.
Once we passed Rufus Morgan Shelter the trail got pretty strenuous climbing steeply uphill. There were many times I thought we were close to the top but then we would do many more switchbacks and then downhill and uphill again!
Maddy is such a trooper! Not one complaint about how her feet might have hurt or that she was tired! We never stopped hiking, except for one time when we stopped to eat some granola bars. We also didn’t have a specific spot we were trying to get to. Just off exploring!
We had been on the trail for 2 hrs when I started to notice the forest wasn’t as dense anymore, so I had some hope that we were close to some opening in the trees to see the view!
Very soon there was a small gap in the trees! Mine and Maddy’s minds were blown away by the view! It was spectacular! We didn’t want to quit then because the trail kept going straight up even steeper, so we knew we were gonna get above the trees to see the mountains even more!
At this point we had some energy to start running because we were excited, but that didn’t last very long. I literally had to pull myself up with the trees and crawl to the top of the rocks. But it was SO worth it!
There was a much bigger opening known as the “Jump-Up”, 4.3 miles from where we started. The view was incredible! We could see the Fontana Lake, the Nantahala River Valley and the Great Smoky Mountains in the distance!
We just had to sit there for a while, and look!
This was our turning around point, and the downhill climb began. I love going up so much more than down, going down is almost a little depressing that you have to leave a view like that. It also feels like you have so many more miles to go and that you’ll never get down. And then the fact that your adventure is ending. Maddy was excited to tell mom all about it though, she kept wanting to run!
We were both very tired at the end of a 8.6 mile hike round trip, but we both still managed to get two freestyle kayaking sessions in at NOC’s whitewater park! It was such an epic day full of adventure!