After checking out Clingmans Dome, we decided to head down 441 and take a quick hike up the very strenuous trail to the rocky face of Chimney Tops. When we arrived it was about 2:00 and the sign at the trailhead said it would take an hour and a half to reach the top. The first part of the hike seemed rather easy (for me anyway). There are many, many, many steps to climb that trail workers built to make the ascent much easier than it could have been. Carrie decided to count them but quickly lost interest when it became more work than walking.
Once we reached the halfway mark, speed began to allude us. The trail began to go straight up and the steps were becoming more laborious. At one point, I believe if I had turned to ask Carrie if she wanted to quit, she would have said yes. One couple that stayed ahead of us for most of the hike did actually quit 2/3 the way up.
When we finally reached a leveling off we could see that we were very close to the top. We were warned by a passing hiker to be cautious of the “killer” squirrels. They were definitely making their presence known and they would get rather close if you let them.
We reached a point where the trail actually came to an end but the sign informed us if we wanted to continue to the top , we could scale the rocky face of the mountain to get the views. Carrie decided to stay put where their were some other hikers there that had been there a while. They had even set up their ENO hammock. I went further climbing halfway up the rocky face before feeling the pressure of fear and shaky legs. I decided it was far enough and the views were spectacular at that point. Others continued further up but I had gone far enough. I was satisfied with the heights that I had reached.
As soon as I got my fill, I scaled back down, grabbed some water and a pack of Spam singles (I was hungry). Then Carrie and I hiked back down the mountain. The whole way down my legs were feeling the jitteriness since I was using my legs muscles more to stay paced and not rush down the mountain (like some we saw as we were going up).
Once we reached the bottom, it was time to find food and that we did in the Burg of Gatlin. BBQ was on the menu at Hungry Bear.