Hikingsouth Hike of the Week

Wayah Bald Sawmill Gap - Bartram Trail and Appalachian Trail, NC

January 31, 2017

Today's hike was on the Bartram and Appalachian Trails starting from Sawmill Gap . The Bartram Trail intersects with and shares with the Appalachian Trail after 2 miles as it leads to Wayah Bald. This is our first hike to Wayah Bald since the devastating forest fires in November / December of 2016. Many trees near the Wayah Bald tower were burned from the bottom all the way to the top!

HIKERS - John Anderson, Mike Bell, Jenny Bell, Phil Brownrigg, Ray Clark, Joe Collins, Stephen Gales, Tim Hale, Bob Magee, Beth McDonald, Dave Norton, Mary Lu Norton, Terre Pratt, Tony Presley, Vic Robson, Carole Wintle and Jack Wintle.

TRAIL INFO. - The Bartram Trail from Sawmill Gap is in excellent shape as it climbs up to the Appalachian Trail. After 2 mi. the the trail is shared with the A.T. the rest of the way to Wayah Bald. We rate the hike moderately difficult due to lots of elevation change. Distance hiked - 8.4 mi.

DIRECTIONS: From Franklin, NC, travel west on US 64 for 3 miles to Old Murphy Road where there is a Wayah Bald sign. Turn right and drive 0.2 mile to Wayah Road (SR 1310). Turn left and continue for about 9 miles to Wayah Crest and continue for couple of miles and turn right onto F.S. Road 711 (Sawmill Gap Road) and continue a few miles to the Sawmill Gap sign and parking lot.

Another great day for a hike! Mostly sunny and cool with a mostly snow covered trail. Temperatures ranged from 34 to 44 degrees F.

FLOWERS IN BLOOM: none

BIRDS IDENTIFIED: American Crow, Chickadee.

scroll down for photos and video from today.......


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Our parking area at Sawmill Gap has some remining snow from 2 days ago.
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We were surprised to find a good blanket of snow as we start the Bartram Trail!
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There were no footprints in the snow as we start.
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Lots of footprints after we pass by!
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The Bartram Trail is mostly uphill to the A.T.
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The woods were beautiful with a thick blanket of soft snow on the north slopes.
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Here is the trail intersection with the Appalachian Trail.
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From this point you will see White markers (A.T.) and Yellow markers (Bartram) on the shared path.
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Approaching Wayah Bald we see mostly burned trees and rhododendrons on the right side of the trail.
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These are beyond recovery and many of the larger trees have already been cut and removed.
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The right side of the approach trail is much worse than the left!
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The roof of the tower is completely gone (see more in the video)!
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The view is spectacular but you can see the burned trees in the foreground.
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Our path today.
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The OFHC gang for today's hike. (l-r) John Anderson, Joe Collins, Terre Pratt, Vic Robson, Carole Wintle, Jack Wintle, Mary Lu Norton, Dave Norton, Jenny Bell, Tim Hale, Beth McDonald, Mike Bell, Stephen Gales, Ray Clark, Phil Brownrigg, Bob Magee and Tony Presley .

See the Video from the hike below!

SEE MANY MORE PHOTOS OF THE HIKE BELOW! (CLICK PHOTO)


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