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#3696837 - 06/23/14 07:57 PM Gregory Bald 6/20/14
Buzzard Breath
8 Point


Registered: 07/31/06
Posts: 1645
Loc: East

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My wife and I skipped out on work Friday and decided to hike Gregory Bald. We had read that the flame azaleas should be in bloom and we had been wanting to check them out. The only reason we haven't been is because the trip there requires a drive around Cades Cove to reach Parson's Branch Road. We got to the start of Cades Cove right at daylight. We were lucky that the traffic was stopped to watch some strutting turkeys at the horse pens. I snapped a quick picture. Navigated through the stopped cars and was in the lead.



I was able to drive speed limit the rest of the way around. Only one car was in front of me and they pulled over to let me around. I did stop to snap a picture of all the usual suspects that you see in the Cove.






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#3696848 - 06/23/14 08:17 PM Re: Gregory Bald 6/20/14 [Re: Buzzard Breath]
Buzzard Breath
8 Point


Registered: 07/31/06
Posts: 1645
Loc: East

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The name "Gregory Bald" was given to the mountain by Cades Cove residents in honor of Russell Gregory (17951864), a prominent Cades Cove settler. He and two other settlers made a deal to each take 1/3 of the land to live upon. Gregory used the mountain to graze cattle during the spring and summer, when the fields in the cove were needed for growing crops. He lived atop the mountain during this part of the year in a circular stone house near the mountain's summit (the house is no longer standing). Gregory, who (like most Cades Covers) supported the Union during the American Civil War, was murdered by a Confederate soldier in 1864 while trying to protect his cattle and land. His grave bears the legend "Murdered by North Carolina rebels".

We had decided to hike to the bald via the Gregory Bald Trail instead of the Gregory Ridge Trail. To get to the Gregory Bald Trail we needed to go down the one way section of Parsons Branch which would lead us out to Highway 129 once we were finished. The Gregory Bald Trail was exactly 9 miles long, per GPS with a 2,300 foot elevation gain. Basically, once we hit the trail we were going up.



Ignore the part where it looks like I jumped off a cliff, I paused my GPS at the top and forgot to start it back up. Here's a little description of the trail.

http://www.hikinginthesmokys.com/gregory_bald_trail.htm

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#3696858 - 06/23/14 08:29 PM Re: Gregory Bald 6/20/14 [Re: Buzzard Breath]
Buzzard Breath
8 Point


Registered: 07/31/06
Posts: 1645
Loc: East

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The hike up the trail was really cool. We'd been getting afternoon thunderstorms and add in the fact that they allow horses on this trail and it made for some muddy conditions.



Along the way, we passed sections of old growth forest. These trees were huge. Talk about feeling like a dwarf.



We'd gotten to campsite 13 and look what we found. This seems to be becoming a regular thing around the park. I've had some issues with bears in the park over the past couple years and these things have no fear of humans. More and more bears are associating people with food.



But, when we looked around, all we could see was hog sign. They'd torn the entire campsite up.


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#3696866 - 06/23/14 08:36 PM Re: Gregory Bald 6/20/14 [Re: Buzzard Breath]
Buzzard Breath
8 Point


Registered: 07/31/06
Posts: 1645
Loc: East

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About a half mile further, we reached to the bald. The azaleas were cool. We may have missed peak bloom by a few days, but the sight was awesome.







The fog was lifting and you could just start to see Cades Cove at the bottom.



Guess where our aggressive bear was. He was up on the bald eating. He already had half a dozen people standing around him taking his picture. I refuse to participate in the acclimation of these animals to people. People that think watching animals anywhere near Cades Cove is like viewing animals in their natural setting are sadly mistaken.

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#3696871 - 06/23/14 08:41 PM Re: Gregory Bald 6/20/14 [Re: Buzzard Breath]
Buzzard Breath
8 Point


Registered: 07/31/06
Posts: 1645
Loc: East

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The hike down was pretty insignificant. The sun had burnt off the fog and the views were awesome.



Even the trail had start to dry out some.



When we had gotten there in the morning, we were the first car in the lot. We passed at least a dozen people just heading up as we were headed down. We could tell some weren't going to make it. When we returned to the parking area, it was full.



It was a fun trip and I would recommend it to anyone in decent shape.


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#3696884 - 06/23/14 08:54 PM Re: Gregory Bald 6/20/14 [Re: Buzzard Breath]
Tennessee Lead
8 Point


Registered: 08/08/13
Posts: 1620
Loc: Putnam County, TN

content Online
That looks fun. I would like to take my wife and try that. Thank you for sharing those amazing pictures.
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#3697519 - 06/24/14 10:17 PM Re: Gregory Bald 6/20/14 [Re: Tennessee Lead]
Gravey
16 Point


Registered: 07/20/05
Posts: 19201
Loc: Rutherford / Wilson County Lin...

content Online
Nice pics. Looks like an enjoyable trip
_________________________
If it ain't broke, don't fix it.

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#3697759 - 06/25/14 11:17 AM Re: Gregory Bald 6/20/14 [Re: Gravey]
Brisco Darlin
10 Point


Registered: 04/24/12
Posts: 3162
Loc: East Tn.

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cool. me and the wife are headed up there next thursday.
_________________________
I'm a little mean but i make up for it by being real healthy.

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#3698908 - 06/27/14 06:54 AM Re: Gregory Bald 6/20/14 [Re: Brisco Darlin]
mountain man 71
10 Point


Registered: 10/08/09
Posts: 2562
Loc: Talbott Tn.

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I would like to hike up there and see it.
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#3699542 - 06/28/14 08:57 AM Re: Gregory Bald 6/20/14 [Re: Buzzard Breath]
Wes Parrish
16 Point


Registered: 06/12/02
Posts: 19297
Loc: Knoxville-Dover-Union City, TN

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Thanks for sharing. Nice story & pics.

 Originally Posted By: Buzzard Breath
The hike up the trail was really cool. We'd been getting afternoon thunderstorms and add in the fact that they allow horses on this trail and it made for some muddy conditions.

Had a somewhat similar experience a few years ago, except on the hike out got caught in a true "flash" flood in a really severe thunderstorm. Water on much of the trail became knee-deep in a matter of minutes, and I was honestly concerned my truck would be missing, washed away.

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