Feb. 27 & 28, 2004
I think this is one of the best hikes in the Southern Appalachians for the remoteness, views and lack of people. This was the first trip with a digital camera so only a few pictures on this one.
Just a note, we did the loop again in Nov. 2013 and while still remote and few people, it is sad that they have not maintained the open area on Potrock Bald and so there are no longer the huge amazing views just a small window.
Because of the long drive (which turned out to be only ~5.5 hrs) we drove up the afternoon before and camped at a Forest Service camp and got an early start the first day. We walked so fast that we finished it in two days. Next time I would drive up and hike that afternoon to Will King Gap (water) and then 2nd night stay at Potrock Bald and then on out the last day and home.
The Rim trail is a steep climb up from Leatherwood Falls to the ridge and then runs the elongated oval shaped ridge around the Fires Creek watershed. If you go clockwise the last few miles has a number of short, very steep, up and downs before the plunge back down to the car. We walked clockwise around the loop. Water is scarce on the ridge and the best information is in the Chunky Gal Trail and Fires Creek Rim Trail guide book by John Ray, et al. (you can usually find it at REI too).
This is Tusquitee and Potrock balds (5200′) at the head of the Fires creek drainage, the object of our desires, and the site of the later views.
Early morning low clouds, looking into Georgia with maybe Brasstown bald (the highest point in GA according to Stewart).
The sunset, fire, and sunrise pictures are all from the sleeping bag, taken from our camp on Beal Knob.
The shot of Bob’s back is from Tusquitee bald. This is where the 21 mile Chunky Gal trail ends/starts, connecting Tusquitee Bald to the AT near Standing Indian in the far distance and runs along the ridge in the middle of the picture.
This is on Potrock Bald.
The panorama is 180 degrees from Wayah bald, through Standing Indian in the middle down to all of the high points in Georgia over looking Chatuge Lake