Experimental music, photography, and adventures

10. The Appalachian Trail to Siler Bald

Monday, September 10th, 2007

We woke up Monday morning to find ourselves in a log cabin in the mountains. What a way to wake up! We took a few minutes to get up, and explored our surroundings.

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The front of the cabin (and my bicycle)

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The view from the gazebo in the back yard

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Inside the cabin

One thing Sarah and I wanted to do on our vacation was hike part of the Appalachian Trail. One of the hikes in the Franklin, NC area we had found took the Appalachian Trail up to Siler Bald (not to be confused with Siler’s Bald in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park), so we decided to do this hike. First, we stopped for breakfast at the Sunset Restaurant. We were probably the only ones under 50, and the place had a blue and yellow color scheme that was rather interesting and had Bible verses in the menu.

We enjoyed driving back into Franklin and seeing all the scenery we had missed in the darkness of night on our way to the cabin. We were surrounded by mountains and farms nestled into the mountains. This was an interesting area, because it was away from tourism; for the people who lived here, the mountains were just an everyday part of their lives. It was a very different way to experience the mountains.

We were also impressed with Franklin, it’s a very small town, but still has a fair number of restaurants and businesses, and the downtown area has an very quaint feel, with some shops with art by local artists and numerous other small, local businesses.  There were many signed bicycle routes through and around town. We didn’t take time to explore Franklin at this time, though, as we were anxious to hike up to Siler Bald.

Our map of Macon County proved useful once again, as the directions to the trailhead were a little unclear. Thanks to the map, we found it without too much difficulty.

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The trailhead was at this picnic area / White blaze indicating the Appalachian Trail

The hike was about two miles uphill, but it was very gradual climbing, for the most part. The trail surface wasn’t as rugged as the one at South Mountains State Park, but still had a lot of character.

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Creek crossing on the AT

It was warm, but not hot, especially compared to Charlotte. As we climbed, we noticed more and more of a breeze, and you could get a sense of the elevation through the trees, although you couldn’t see much at this point. Eventually, we reached a clearing and saw Siler Bald looming over us. This was the steep part of the climb, but the higher you went, the better the views. It was exhilarating, and very cool to be able to see further, since it was, you know, bald.image_37857132007826195147
Siler Bald looms before us

I went a little bit ahead of Sarah and got some shots of her hiking toward me. I think they turned out pretty cool, having her in the shots gives them more of a sense of scale.

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Sarah climbs Siler Bald

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We thought we were going to get rained on, as some dark clouds were overhead, and we even felt a few drops — but we were lucky. The clouds blew over without raining on us.

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It was a long way up …

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But it was also well worth the effort

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Weird split tree on top of Siler Bald

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View from the top
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Sarah on Siler Bald

The trip down was significantly easier, even though I like to claim that the trip down is harder than the trip up. Usually, that’s not the case — unless it’s extremely steep. It was great to hike on the AT and see Siler Bald. We didn’t see or hear any other people there. I was amazed that we had such an incredible mountain all to ourselves.

We contemplated going to nearby Wayah Bald, but decided against it. Someday, we’ll go back and check that out. Supposedly, there’s a lookout tower there, with unique views of its own.

5 Responses to “10. The Appalachian Trail to Siler Bald”

  1. Christy Says:

    The cabin is beautiful on the inside, it looks so warm and cozy! Cool pics of the hike as well. =o)

  2. furiousball Says:

    That place is gorgeous. The cabin is really nice looking too. That lady is following you around again and getting in all your pictures again.

  3. i, squub Says:

    That cabin looks enery awesome.

  4. Doug Says:

    Nice pictures! Brings back memories of our 2001 thru-hike. We have pictures of Siler Bald. In one, my wife is standing in front of that odd tree. It’s in March, so no leaves on the trees yet. I remember dropping our packs at the base of that grassy area where the trail crosses through the open area, grabbing some lunch and sitting and eating at the top of the bald. It was a beautiful moment we had on that bald.

  5. Marty Says:

    Wow – great shots, and that cabin looks fantastic. And great that you got to do the App Trail. I’ve done a very small portion of it, but would love to see more (and more)…

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