Showing posts from April, 2014

Clingman's Dome

Summit elevation: 6643 feet
Distance: 0.5 mile one way
Elevation gain: 340 feet
Date: April 30, 2014

Clingman's Dome is the highest point in Tennessee (the summit is on the North Carolina border) as well as Great Smoky Mountains National Park. It is also the third highest point in the eastern United States (Mount Mitchell and Mount Craig in North Carolina are higher). Getting to the summit is fairly easy since a road goes from Newfound Gap to a parking area below the summit at an elevation of 6300 feet. A half mile long paved path gains 340 feet of in elevation as it goes from the parking lot to a 45-foot tall observation tower on the summit.

When I made the walk to the summit the mountain was enshrouded in clouds with some occasional light rain, and the temperature was in the 50s. Thus there were no views from the observation tower, and fewer than ten other people made the walk to the summit while I was there. However, there was a black bear just down the road from the parking lo…

Chimney Tops, Great Smoky Mountains

Distance: 2 miles one way
Elevation gain: 1487 feet
Location: Great Smoky Mountains National Park, Tennessee
Date: April 30, 2014

The Chimney Tops is one of the most popular hikes in Great Smoky Mountains National Park. The Road Prong Trail begins along Newfound Gap Road (the main park road southeast of Gatlinburg) and immediately crosses the West Prong of the Little Pigeon River via a footbridge. Over the course of the next 0.9 mile the trail steadily gains several hundred feet of elevation and crosses the Road Prong (name of a stream) a few times before reaching its intersection with the Chimney Tops Trail.

The Chimney Tops Trail turns uphill from the main valley and follows a small stream for about a half mile as you steeply climb above an elevation of 4000 feet. Just below the top of the trail, you reach the Chimney Tops feature, which is an exposed rock ridge that requires some class 3 scrambling to reach the 4753-foot summit. If it's wet, then the rock can be slippery, but o…

Puskus Lake, Holly Springs National Forest

Location: Holly Springs National Forest, east of Oxford, Mississippi
Date: April 25, 2014

Puskus Lake is one of the few developed recreation areas in Holly Springs National Forest in northern Mississippi. The lake is formed by a dam on Puskus Creek northeast of Oxford, Mississippi. There is a campground, day use area, short trail, boat launch, and docks on the south side of the lake, which can be accessed via a well-maintained two mile-long gravel road from Mississippi highway 30.

I visited the area on a late April evening when the temperatures were in the upper 60s, the humidity was low, and the sunset was fantastic. Puskus Lake is north of North Cypress Lake, another recreation area in Holly Springs National Forest.

© Copyright 2017 Matthew Pintar. All rights reserved.

Vicksburg National Military Park

Location: Vicksburg, Mississippi
Date: April 10, 2014

Vicksburg National Military Park is in Vicksburg, Mississippi and commemorates the location of the Siege of Vicksburg during the Civil War. Most people see the park via a 16-mile loop road that goes past the park's memorials and historic sites. The road also goes to the remains of the USS Cairo and its museum, which are next to the national cemetery above the Mississippi River floodplain. In addition to the USS Cairo, two of the sites that I found particularly interesting were Fort Hill and Thayer's Approach, where Union forces dug tunnel through a very small ridge.

© Copyright 2017 Matthew Pintar. All rights reserved.