Trail Miles Hiked: 6.2
20 August 2011
Some days you just have to get out and hike. It may not be a big mileage day, and it may not lead to an amazing waterfall or astounding mountain-top view, but sometimes you just have to go. Last Saturday was one of those days. For a variety of reasons I felt like there was a pretty big weight on my shoulders last week. And Sarah needed some quiet time to get some things done. So Saturday morning I gathered up my youngest son and we hopped in the car and headed up to Abrams Creek Ranger Station. It's only about 30 minutes from my house to the ranger station / campground so it's a good spot for us when we want (or need!) a quick hike.
Cooper Road trail runs from Abrams Creek out to Cades Cove. On this day we planned to just to a little chunk from Abrams Creek up to the junction with Gold Mine Trail at Cane Gap. I had done the first mile (up to the junction with Little Bottoms trail & campsite #1) several times before but had never been beyond campsite #1.
Duncan at the trail head
The trail is pretty uneventful. It wanders through moist areas where creeks cross (or are part of) the trail, and up through drier, piney ridges as well. From Abrams Creek campground up to Cane Gap the trail is interspersed with short rises and flat spots. Despite the heat of the day it was fairly cool (but quite humid) along the trail. Along the way we stopped at Campsite #1 where we stayed last year for Duncan's first backpacking trip.
Duncan at the fire ring in Campsite #1
Toppled tree near where we camped last year
We ultimately arrived at Cane Gap and stopped for a snack, drink and to take some more pictures.
After a short break we turned around and headed back down hill. We considered going ahead and doing the short (0.8 mi) Gold Mine trail too, but were afraid we were running out of time so decided just to head back.
Despite the fact that the Cooper Road trail is not terribly exciting, it was a fantastic day. For one, I really needed to just get away. Hiking is such a primeval pursuit - there's just you and the trail and the forest. Cares and worries seem to just slip into the background out on the trail. Secondly, it's always great to get to do something with Duncan. He's so chipper and enthusiastic. I can't tell you how many times he said "I just love to hike..." Music to my ears. He chatters and jumps and walks on fallen trees and peers under rocks and up hollow trees. He points out cool plants or bugs or piles of animal poop (we saw a dung beetle with his ball of poop) and asks what plants are called. His enthusiasm for the simple beauty of the time and place is infectious. And I needed that.
Til next time, happy hiking. And when the world has you down, go for a hike. It'll help - I promise.