Lynn Camp Prong Lollipop Loop, Great Smokey Mountains National Park - May 29, 2018

scatman

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Every couple of years, the Scat Family heads back to Waynesville, North Carolina to visit with Poppa Scat and of course check out a couple of day hikes in the Smokies. Our first hike, was a fifteen mile lollipop loop that began at the end of the Tremont Road. From the trailhead, we headed slightly southeast along the Middle Prong Trail until we reached the junction with the Panther Creek Trail. At this junction, we took a left, forded Lynn Camp Prong, then made our way up Panther Creek to Jake's Gap, which sits just below Blanket Mountain to the north and Dripping Spring Mountain to the south. Once at the gap we proceeded to contour around Dripping Spring Mountain on the Miry Ridge Trail. At the junction of the Miry Ridge Trail and the Lynn Camp Prong Trail, we stopped and had lunch (roughly the halfway point of our hike). After eating, we proceeded west down the Lynn Camp Prong Trail and back to the Middle Prong Trail, which lead us back to our vehicle at the trailhead.

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Overview map of our route

Unfortunately for us, we had a tropical storm settling in over western North Carolina for our first four days there, so this turned out to be a rainy, muddy and wet hike.

Along Lynn Camp Prong, there were numerous cascades to check out, along with a couple of plunge waterfalls. Along our trek, we ran into numerous centipedes and millipedes, to many Swallowtails to count, a snake, squirrels and chipmunks, and a black bear along the Lynn Camp Prong Trail. Also of interest, were the many mushrooms and fungi along our way. Clearly they are an important part of the ecosystem of the Smokey Mountains. We were also impressed with just how green everything was. Maybe the rainy weather had something to do with this, but it was a very penetrating green in my mind.

Our jaunt was again about fifteen miles. We left the trailhead at 8:30 in the morning and returned around 5:30 in the afternoon - so about nine hours for us. This included three breaks and a substantial lunch break on Miry Ridge, plus a lot of picture taking along the way.

Also, this is the first hike I've done where I used an umbrella instead of my rain gear. After walking around the grounds of Biltmore House and Gardens the day before, I decide my rain gear was to hot and stuffy to be comfortable. I convinced my wife and daughter that the umbrella was the way to go, while my son still wore his rain gear when the downpours occurred.

Here are some shots of our hike:

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View from the trailhead

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Cascades on Lynn Camp Prong - This worried me a bit since we had to ford this creek in about 2 miles.

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Falls on Lynn Camp Prong

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A common site along our route

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Lynn Camp Prong

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More falls

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Middle Prong Trail which parallels Lynn Camp Prong


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Scat Jr. - that smile would make a dad proud. :) or perhaps :scatman:

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Trail junction with the Panther Creek Trail

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Fording Panther Creek

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Let me show you how this is done. Child's play compared to the TST last year. :thumbsup:

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Smart-ass! I didn't realize this shot was part of our hike until I downloaded the images to my computer

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We saw dozens of these millipedes also

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Mushrooms were plentiful too

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More mushrooms


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Tracking the allusive Scat Jr. (scientific name - Smart Assiuss). I think we are getting close.

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View into the woods from the Panther Creek Trail

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At the Panther Creek, Miry Ridge Trail junction

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Rhododendrons were in bloom

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Miry Ridge Trail

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Exotic looking moss along the trail

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Black Bear tracks along the Miry Ridge Trail - always a morale boost to any hike.


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Fungi

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Mushroom


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Bakcountry campsite 26 signpost

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Lunchtime at the Miry Ridge Trail and the Lynn Camp Prong Trail junction

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Lots of fungi along the Lynn Camp Prong Trail

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A pretty orange color

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Snake

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Trail junction for the Lynn Camp Prong Trail and the Middle Prong Trail along with backcountry site 28

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Side stream to Indian Flats Prong

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Mountain Laurel in bloom

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Indian Flat Falls - a series of three plunges make up the falls.


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Another shot of the first plunge slowed down a bit

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Plunge #2

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Cascading falls on the Lynn Camp Prong in the late afternoon

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Heading back to the trailhead on the Middle Prong Trail


The end.
 

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Ben

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Hey, thanks for getting out there and sharing this dude. Looks there's lots of trees.
 

Perry

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#3
Green! is an understatement! Amazing!


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