REI

Friday, June 16, 2017

Andrew's Bald, TN - 6/16/2017

Andrew's Bald, TN - 6/16/2017


When planning our vacation to The Great Smoky Mountains in TN, I looked at many trails and watched many videos. My list of trails I was interested in were vast, and unfortunately, I had to narrow it down to just the ones I really wanted to do. Andrew's Bald was one of the hikes I made sure was on the list. After doing my research and watching videos I realized how unique this hike was. Most of the popular trails in the area go to waterfalls, but this one leads to an open field on the top of the mountain with 360-degree views! 

We started the day hiking the Clingman's Dome and then back tracking onto The Appalachian Trail to the parking lot (there's another blog entry and video on this). After taking a short snack break, and letting our daughter out to run around we got the gear back on and then headed down to Andrew's Bald. One thing I will say about this hike is make sure you are prepared. It is downhill on the way there and uphill on the way back. This is quite opposite from most trails in that you almost get a break on the way back, where as this trail you will be doing the most work headed back up the trail.

Starting this trail we were really excited to see something different. We'd seen waterfalls, parts of The Appalachian Trail, but this was a hike that was different. We packed our lunch with us to make sure we could have a mini picnic in the Bald. Along the way there were small streams that crossed the trail, they put pieces of wood to control the flow, so u could walk over the stream. When walking it sounded like one of those noise fountains you can buy to relax you. Just the slow trickling sound of fresh, cold water, coming off the mountain. It was hypnotizing. 

Of course while hiking some interesting conversations always come up. Especially between my mom and my husband. So, my husband and I earlier that morning around 5-6am heard foot steps on the third floor of the chalet we were staying in. We assumed it was my mom (which I still believe it was my mom) but while hiking my husband asked my mom if she was up walking around. Of course my mom said no, and freaked my husband out. So we teased him a little along the way about the chalet being haunted. Ya know, ghost stories on a hike are always fun!

At this point, most of the trail was a mix of small rocks, steps, and dirt. It was actually one of the easiest beginnings to a hike we had done so far. We even took some mini breaks to take pictures in front of massive boulders. Also along the way, there were planks to walk on. I guess parts of the path get muddy at different times of the year so you have the option to walk on these planks. But we didn't have to because the trails were dry.

Once you hit the last quarter mile of the trail it starts to open up from the trees, and starts to turn into a grassy field, then you see it. A huge clearing on the top of a mountain covered in tall green grass, large bushes, trees with beautiful orange flowers and almost 360 views of the mountain range. Unfortunately, for us, it was cloudy that day so we could only see bits and pieces of the mountain range as the clouds went past. 

We ended up finding a really flat spot in the grass to sit down and have some lunch. It was wonderful to sit and relax, let the baby run around a bit, while I went and took lots of pictures of the views and plants. It was very relaxing to just sit there and listen to the breeze as it went thru the trees and to watch the clouds roll right past us. At one point we were blessed to have a good portion of the clouds roll by and open up the view so we could get a peek at the endless mountain ranges in the distance. With the blossoming trees filled with orange flowers, the mountain views, and a cool breeze while eating lunch it made for one beautiful hike. 

But, as I said before, we had it easy hiking in. The way back was up hill, and it was definitely a little tiring after already completing one hike earlier that day. 

Enjoy the photos below and please go to the bottom of the page for a link to the video from this hike as well as links to our Social media. 























































Watch our video about this hike on YouTube at: