Total Miles Hiked: 20.6
Total Ticks Removed: 6
8-9 June 2017
The southern end of the Hannah Mountain trail has been a hole in my map for a long time. I've done all the trails around it, but never quite managed to complete this one. So I decided to do a short backpack from Abrams Creek Ranger Station up Rabbit Creek trail to Hannah Mountain trail. I stayed overnight at backcountry campsite #14, and then finished off Hannah Mountain out to Parson's Branch Road, and then back to Abrams Creek.
|Rabbit Creek trailhead at Abrams Creek Ranger Station|
|Looking back across Abrams Creek to where the bridge *used* to be|
|Day lilies at an old home site|
|Going UP Rabbit Creek trail|
We've had several violent storms in the area over the last couple of months, you can see the aftermath on the trails. LOTS of trees blown down over the trail. None that made the trail impassable, but lots the required a detour over, under or around.
Ultimately Rabbit Creek trail crests Pine Mountain and then descends steeply into Scott Gap, the junction of Rabbit Creek trail (coming in from Abrams Creek on one side, and from Cades Cove on the other side), and Hannah Mountain trail. It's 2.7 miles from Abrams Creek Ranger Station to Scott Gap.
|Trail junction at Scott Gap|
Backcountry campsite #14 at Flint Gap is really more of a wide spot in the trail than a campsite. The trail literally goes through the middle of the campsite which has one small flat area for tents, bear cables, and fire ring all within about a 25-foot radius. It was pleasant and I was the only one there, but it's pretty small and has very limited flat spots for tents.
|Backcountry campsite #14|
|Backcountry campsite #14|
The other unfortunate thing about this campsite is that the water source is about a 5-minute walk further up the trail. As I mentioned, this area of the park is fairly dry with few creeks or springs. According to the Little Brown Book there is an unreliable spring just below the gap that campsite #14 sits in. I looked for a little bit to see if I could find it, but no luck so I headed on down the trail. The water source is a small creek in a draw and had a nice pool that was 3 or 4 inches deep - easy to filter water from. BUT it's been a wet spring and it's still this shallow. I can imagine that in August or September of a dry year that this might completely dry up, and it's the ONLY water source on this whole trail.
|Water source for campsite #14|
Friday morning I broke camp and headed out to finish off the remaining 4.4 miles of Hannah Mountain trail. From campsite #14 the trail ascends about 800' over about a mile and half before leveling out on a ridge top. This section of the trail seemed rarely traveled. It was overgrown in many places with the blackberry brambles, wild hydrangea bushes and greenbriar vines crowding into the trail (I was wearing shorts and my legs are pretty scratched up). There were some botanically interesting sights along the way:
|Stump sprouts from an American Chestnut tree|
|REALLY big old Tulip Poplar tree|
|The end of Hannah Mountain trail at Parson's Branch Road|
|Hannah Mountain trail sign|
|A deer that kept me company while I sat and read.|
I made it back safe and sound, and was happy to put my tired feet into the cool waters at the ford of Abrams Creek.
|Selfie in the middle of the Abrams Creek ford|
Til next time, happy hiking!