We piled in the car at 8am Saturday, drove west and by noon were turning off TN-395 to the Gravel Beauty Gap Road. Of course we had to stop and snap a few photos at Beauty Gap before parking the car at a small pull-out and starting the hike.
|Beauty Spot Gap on the NC/TN border|
|Gus taking a break after an apparently exhausting initial quarter mile|
|Brogan and Gus after a brief steep rock section of the AT|
until entering a quiet, gorgeous pine forest at the very top. We stopped and had a snack
|Near the summit of Unaka, admiring the tall pines|
while Brogan enjoyed the novelty of having his left foot in North Carolina and his right foot in Tennessee.
|Straddling North Carolina and Tennessee. He's just as dorky as I am|
We headed back down to the car, with an easy day under our belts - 3.1 miles round trip with just over 1000' of elevation gain. We stopped for another small peak on the way to the Rock Creek Campground just off TN-395 where we spent the night. We lucked out and ended up next to a great family that invited us over. I chatted mostly with the grandfather, a local who grew up in Unicoi while Brogan played with two brothers that were 8 months older and younger than him. They had so much fun they were up until 11pm before I finally got him to bed.
Waking Brogan up the next morning was tough after his late bedtime - I don't think he got out of the tent until 10am.
|Two reluctant risers|
|A thoroughly exhausted dog - it's hard work running around with a leash in your mouth|
|The Rock Creek Falls trail. Note that Brogan is wearing the same clothes as the day before. This is what happens when Mom isn't around...|
|Negotiating a stream crossing|
|Proudly showing the stream he just crossed "without falling in once."|
|Brogan in front of the falls.|
|Rock Creek Falls|
|Always thinking of his mom|
Brogan was very enthusiastic about the waterfalls, so we'll have to work more of those in in the future.