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A Lil Taste of Home - Mt Cammerer, TN

A Lil Taste of Home - Mt Cammerer, TN


Postby Stretch » Tue Mar 13, 2012 12:37 am

Date walked: 11/03/2012

Time taken: 5.3

Distance: 8 km

Ascent: 753m

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Well it's been way too long since I last posted a trip report - I've nearly forgotten how it's done. Since moving back home to Tennessee at the end of November, Stretch has been one busy man. I've only managed two hikes since I arrived back here - this is a report of the latest which I did on a perfect Sunday. The last 2 1/2 months I've been working my tail off to try and wrap up my PhD thesis - really want to finish some time in May if possible. Needless to say, this has hindered my ability to hike in the surrounding mountains and fish on the lake here in my hometown. After a week of writer's block, I needed to get away from the books, so I planned a hike up to Mt Cammerer in the Smoky Mountain National Park.

Mt Cammerer sits along the Appalachian Trail which borders North Carolina and Tennessee. I have hiked up to the "AT" at several points in the park, but this would be a new section for me. There is a fine lookout tower placed on a rocky outcrop at the summit and it offers fantastic 360 degree views. The tower was built in the late-1930s and restored in the 80s. It was used as a fire tower until the 60s and observers also kept an eye out for possible moonshining activity in the area. On a clear day one can see all the way to the hills around the Kentucky/Virginia/Tennessee border to the north and well across into North Carolina to the east, southeast, and due south. To the west you get a fine view of Camel Hump Mountain on the Tennessee side of the AT.

The walk begins at the Cosby Campground just inside the Smoky Mountain National Park - this is about an hour from my house which is to the north. It is possible to make a 16 mile loop out of this walk, but having not hiked much I chose to do an up and down route of just over 10 miles. I set off along the Low Gap trail around 8:30 and enjoyed a nice steady ascent through a section of thick forest which follows a stream. After 2.9 miles I reached the Appalachian Trail. My legs were feeling it a bit after the first hour and a half, so I took a quick break. I had only passed 2 walkers who were descending at this point - I wouldn't see another person until halfway back to the parking area. From the junction at the AT it is a fairly easy (more level) 2.1 miles to a short section of trail that takes you to the lookout tower. I guess one of the biggest differences between walking in Scotland and walking in the Smokys is the lack of views at higher elevations. With trees covering the entire area you only get fleeting views of the surrounding mountains until you come to what we call 'balds' along the top of the various ridges and along the AT. Despite the lack of views through the trees, the views from these clearings are usually spectacular.

After about 2 1/2 hours of steady walking I reached the tower. I probably spent nearly an hour just walking around taking in the 360 degree views. Some days it can be pretty hazy in the Smokys, but for the most part, it was a crystal clear day. I must have repeated the statement, 'there's no place like home', about 20 times. I was dealing with a lot of anxiety during my last year in St Andrews and thankfully that has cleared up since I've moved back. But for about an hour, I didn't even think about my PhD or any other problems I have. It's certainly always good to head outdoors and recharge the soul when things are looking bleak!

Hopefully I'll be able to head up some more local trails in the Smokys and post a few reports this spring. A lot of folks around this area try to walk all 800 miles of trails that lie within the park's borders. There is a bit of munro-bagging mentality in this lol. Don't think I'm not keeping record of which trails I've done! :lol:

Hope everyone back in the UK is doing well - I miss the hillwalking!

Mt_Cammerer.jpg
Mt Cammerer area map


Start of the day.jpg
Start of the day


Typical bridge in the Smoky Mountains National Park.jpg
Typical bridge in the Smoky Mountains National Park


Lower part of the Low Gap trail.jpg
Lower part of the Low Gap trail


Some nice scenery to begin the day.jpg
Some nice scenery to begin the day


Top section of the Low Gap trail.jpg
Top section of the Low Gap trail


Reached the AT.jpg
Reached the AT


Start of the walk along the Appalachian Trail.jpg
Start of the walk along the Appalachian Trail


Appalachian Trail.jpg
Appalachian Trail


My target finally comes into view - left hump on the ridge.jpg
My target finally comes into view - left hump on the ridge


Typical section of the Appalachian Trail.jpg
Typical section of the Appalachian Trail


Just a short way up to the tower from the AT.jpg
Just a short way up to the tower from the AT


Nearly to the top.jpg
Nearly to the top


Summit of Mt Cammerer.jpg
Summit of Mt Cammerer


Mt Cammerer Lookout Tower.jpg
Mt Cammerer Lookout Tower


Inside the tower.jpg
Inside the tower


Looking west to Camel Hump Mountain.jpg
Looking west to Camel Hump Mountain


Across to Pisgah National Park - North Carolina.jpg
Across to Pisgah National Park - North Carolina


Looking north into eastern Tennessee.jpg
Looking north into eastern Tennessee


North along Interstate 40 toward Newport - TN.jpg
North along Interstate 40 toward - Newport, TN


Western North Carolina.jpg
Western North Carolina


Summit marker - roughly 4928ft.jpg
Summit marker - roughly 4928ft


Haze over North Carolina.jpg
Haze over North Carolina
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Stretch
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Re: A Lil Taste of Home - Mt Cammerer, TN

Postby HighlandSC » Tue Mar 13, 2012 1:10 am

Good stuff Andy. Not managed any proper long hikes since moving here, just short trails here and there. Some good views there - sometimes hard to get, if it's not trees blocking them I often find a thick haze gets in the way!
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Re: A Lil Taste of Home - Mt Cammerer, TN

Postby ChrisW » Tue Mar 13, 2012 3:14 am

Great report Stretch with some lovely shots of the bare winter trees and that cracking fire lookout (wouldn't that make a fine residence), great to have you back and to get a glimpse of TN, I look forward to seeing more of it later in the year :D Good luck with completion of the thesis, just remember sometimes leaving it alone for a few hours can be more productive rather than less :wink:
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Re: A Lil Taste of Home - Mt Cammerer, TN

Postby kandy green » Tue Mar 13, 2012 6:51 am

so beautiful environment, I want to travel very much! Hope everyone back in the UK is doing well - I miss the hillwalking!
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Re: A Lil Taste of Home - Mt Cammerer, TN

Postby garyhortop » Tue Mar 13, 2012 6:09 pm

Great report Stretch...stunning pictures and looks like and amazing walk! :D
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Re: A Lil Taste of Home - Mt Cammerer, TN

Postby malky_c » Tue Mar 13, 2012 8:50 pm

Enjoyed that - good to see you are out on the hills again :) . Any mention of the AT always has me thinking of Bill Bryson's 'A Walk in the Woods'. He seems to have done a good job with his descriptions, as this looks exactly how I imagined it 8)

I really like your last photo in particular. Something about all those different shades of blue.
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Re: A Lil Taste of Home - Mt Cammerer, TN

Postby gammy leg walker » Tue Mar 13, 2012 10:45 pm

A fine return to the site stretch certainly missed your reports.


PS................not much chance of getting lost,with all the sign posts.
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Re: A Lil Taste of Home - Mt Cammerer, TN

Postby jonny616 » Wed Mar 14, 2012 12:27 am

Glad you're getting out & about.

That,s a big camel gap at 2.4K :lol: :lol:

You're weather was better than ours on the 11th :D
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Re: A Lil Taste of Home - Mt Cammerer, TN

Postby Stretch » Wed Mar 14, 2012 1:16 am

Cheers all, glad to contribute to the site again finally. The wildflowers will be blooming soon, so I'll try to get out again and take a few more shots.

Jonny, there are not dangerous bogs to submerge yourself in around here! :lol:
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Re: A Lil Taste of Home - Mt Cammerer, TN

Postby Phil the Hill » Wed Mar 14, 2012 12:32 pm

Good report. I've done a few sections of the AT up in Massachussets, and it reminds me of those - especially the walking below the treeline much of the time. Must post a report of my ascent of Mt. Washington some time. That was one of my best days on the hill.
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Re: A Lil Taste of Home - Mt Cammerer, TN

Postby Alan S » Mon Apr 16, 2012 10:55 pm

Good too see another report from you mate 8) Hopefully there will be another munro post soon :D
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