Chimney Tops 2003
Great Smoky Mountains National Park, Tennessee
Chimney Tops Revisited June 2003:
On our fifth adventure to the Chimney Tops our crew consisted of Pick, Weisey, Dauster, Berg, and Pacer. It had been 7 years since Pick and I had last hiked the Chimneys and we were determined to have this time be our best yet. Pacer, living up to her namesake, led the way at a cardio kicking pace. Being a marathon runner herself, she pushed us all to perform at our best. Pick, Berg, and Dauster had no trouble keeping up the quick pace. I dropped back a bit but was never too far behind. Even though we were challenging ourselves aerobically on this hike we still took time to enjoy one of our favorite trails, and since Dauster, Berg, and Pacer had never hiked the Chimneys before they had a lot to absorb. For those of you interested in the physical aspect of hiking you might like to know that this 4.0 mile roundtrip hike burned 1062 calories and kept my heart rate at peak performance the entire 2 hours that we were hiking. We reached the top in an astounding 60 minutes, took in the views and played on top for another hour, and made it back to the car in 60 minutes…for a 3 hour total. We were quite happy with that time…like fine wine we are getting better with age!
Our hike on June 28th, 2003 was just as amazing as our last four trips, and in fact it was the first time anyone in our crew made it out to the second rock outcropping! Berg and Pacer braved the sheer drop-offs and narrow path to go where no Natural Born Hiker had ever gone! Maybe someday I will follow in their footsteps, but this time it was not to be…I chickened out again. Even Pick didn’t like the looks of those drop-offs! Dauster, having a healthy fear of high rock out-croppings, managed to drag herself up to the first pinnacle, in a rather comical manner I might add, staying as close to the rock as humanly possible; giving us all a good laugh in the process…including Dauster herself. She is always such a great sport and is definitely one of the coolest founding members of the crew!
The trail couldn’t have been more beautiful, the rosebay rhododendron, flame azalea, and mountain laurel were out in full force, with bee balm, wild geranium, and jewelweed thrown in for good measure. A great time was had by all and we all agree it was our favorite trail in the park. Below you will find some pictures from our trip.