Total Miles Hiked: 8.2
25 March 2017
This year our wedding anniversary get-away took us to a cabin in Cosby, TN. Since we don't often get over to this side of the park, we wanted to take the opportunity to do a new trail. I picked out the Long Bunk trail as a reasonable out-and-back hike. It's a 1/2 mile up the Mt. Sterling trail from the road to the beginning of the Long Bunk trail, 3.6 miles down Long Bunk to its junction with Little Cattaloochee trail, and then we retraced our steps.
First things first - Old NC 284, aka Mount Sterling Road is a gravel, winding, narrow mountain road. While it's only about 9 miles from the Waterville exit on I-40, it took a LONG time to drive...
Second - the Mount Sterling trail is steep. Even though you only have to go up a 1/2 mile, it's up, up, up.
|Trail Head for Long Bunk trail at its junction with the Mount Sterling trail|
Ok, the Long Bunk trail. This trail is near the eastern boundary of the park. It connects the Mount Sterling trail with the Little Cataloochee trail, and my guess is that most people who do this trail do it as a part of a bigger loop. It is early spring now, so the trees are all still bare which makes for some cool hiking - you can see a long way through the trees and get a good feel for the lay of the land.
|Bare trees = good views through the trees|
|Mossy tree trunk along the trail leading down to a creek crossing|
|One of several very shallow creek crossings|
|Metal pieces from some long-forgotten contraption.|
This valley was settled prior to the park, and you can see occasional evidence in the form of random pieces of metal, old cans, and rock mounds. And while it is early spring, there were very few wildflowers out on this trail. We saw Spring Beauty, Squaw Root, and a few Violets, but nothing else. There are also a lot of grape vines on this trail, many of which are quite large.
|Grape vine climbing a tree|
|Long Bunk trail - Little Cataloochee trail junction|
Til next time, happy hiking!