Team Green. The group rented five cabins for four days. The area is a mecca for kayakers and mountain bikers, but I ended up just hiking.
On Friday we did a short hike along the Appalachian Trail up to Wesser Bald. At the top of the bald is a fire tower with magnificent views of the surrounding mountains. The photo here was taken on the tower. That evening, our fine chef made individual pizzas. (No, we didn't hire a chef; one of our cabin mates loves to cook and is really good at it.)
On Saturday we took on a more challenging hike. At this point I should back up and explain how little sleep I was running on. Our cabin had 17 people staying in it, and somehow it became the party cabin. Thursday night I was never able to fall asleep at all, and Friday night I only managed three hours. So come Saturday, I really had no business tackling a hike that gained 3000 feet over five miles. But no way was I going to be left behind. We planned to hike up the Bartram Trail, which connects to the AT. Once reaching the AT, the idea is to walk another half mile or so to Cheoah Bald.
The trail started off with some confusion, as there were quite a few side trails, but eventually we found the right path and started plowing straight uphill. I thought I was going to die. (And I'll admit it, I was the slow one on this trip.) Eventually the incline moderated as the trail followed Ledbetter Creek, which had many small cascades and moss-covered boudlers. After we crossed an ATV road, the trail once again went relentlessly up. It didn't stop until we reached the bald, where we found ourselves in a mist with no view. Going down, of course, was faster, although not easier for everyone - I'm lucky that my knees are good. By the end, we were thrilled to have completed what we called "Satan's run."
We planned to do a little paddling on Sunday, but no one felt motivated enough to make time for it.