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Old Jan 10, 2015, 9:09 PM   #1
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Default Road Prong to Sugarland Mt

Another hike I'll be leading for Wilderness Wildlife Week is a 13 mile loop traversing a diverse sampling of Smokies habitats. The trail starts up Road Prong. This WAS a busy road from Tennessee to North Carolina back over 100 years ago, but now is a lush and surprisingly not heavily-used trail.

The stream chatters over huge rounded boulders - evidence of times of much stronger flow.
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Old Jan 10, 2015, 9:09 PM   #2
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There are several small waterfalls along the way...
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Old Jan 10, 2015, 9:10 PM   #3
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And some fascinating quartzite outcroppings.
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Old Jan 10, 2015, 9:11 PM   #4
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We hiked the Road Prong mostly in deep fog. The trail ends at the Appalachian Trail, right near Newfound Gap Rd. Here we were just barely above the level of the fog and low clouds, which made for some fascinating sunbeam patterns.
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Old Jan 10, 2015, 9:13 PM   #5
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After several miles along the AT, we turned onto the Sugarland Mountain Trail - a long steady downhill through some lush lichen-filled forests.
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Old Jan 10, 2015, 9:15 PM   #6
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With temperatures dropping and fog thickening, we hurried on down to an old, unmaintained trail - the Chimney Tops manway. It's a short, steep hike down to one of the busiest trails in the park. Usually a great place for views, but this time, just views of the fog, and fog freezing on the lichens and spruces.
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Old Jan 10, 2015, 9:15 PM   #7
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Had to rush on down the trail (impending storm was about to close the road!), but hoping for clearer conditions on the Wildlife Week hike, so we can enjoy the views from the Chimneys. Hope you enjoyed these rather foggy frozen views, and that you'll share your comments & suggestions!
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