Total Miles Hiked: 19.3
9 September 2017
The Hiking merit badge for the Boy Scouts of America requires (among many other things) a 20-mile hike completed in one day. The Troop that I am scoutmaster for has been working on the hiking merit badge, having completed a 5-mile, three 10-mile, and a 15-mile hike. The last requirement was the 20-miler so we were looking for a route that we could do mostly downhill. We decided to start at Clingman's Dome, hike the AT out to the Goshen Prong trail, take Goshen Prong down to Little River trail, and then hike UP Little River trail to campsite #30, and then back DOWN to Elkmont. On the National Geographic map this is a 19.3 mile route; the GPS on my phone said I actually hiked about 21 miles. In the process I completed one new trail: Goshen Prong for 7.6 new miles.
|View from Clingman's Dome parking lot.|
|Our hiking crew: 8 scouts + 2 dads.|
|Trail sign on the Appalachian Trail just west of Clingman's Dome|
|Appalachian Trail - Goshen Prong Trail junction|
|Typical view of the upper section of Goshen Prong - the trail is littered with recently cleared Rhododendron leaves.|
|Cool cave right on the trail.|
|Remnants of the logging railroad.|
|Beautiful waterfall on the Goshen Prong.|
|Trail sign at the false trail to the "not-campsite"|
|Trail marker for the real entrance to Campsite #23|
|Bridge over the Little River.|
|Goshen Prong - Little River trail junction.|
We took a short break at campsite #30 and then turned around and headed back down toward Elkmont, picking up our packs at #24 along the way. This was the home stretch and by now everyone was getting sore and tired, and ready to be back. We made good time on this last stretch, taking in the beauty of the Little River and enjoying the wide, flat trail. We stopped for one more picture at the big bridge over the Little River and then hoofed it on down to Elkmont and the waiting parents to shuttle us back home.
|Little River bridge.|
Looking forward to doing some more hiking now that cooler weather is upon us.
Til next time, happy hiking!