Go confidently in the direction of your dreams. Live the life you have imagined.

Henry David Thoreau

To the Jump Off for Glorious Views

Monday July 9, 2018                                                                              Most Recent Posts:
Great Smoky Mountains National Park                                                   Three Falls in One Day
Tennessee                                                                   The Beauty of Jakes Creek Falls-The Saddness of Neglect

IMG_6875This morning I join Nancy and Bill for a hike up to see what are described as fantastic views at a spot known as the Jump Off.  Just as I love waterfalls, they love peaks so when they asked if I wanted to come along, of course I do.

I drive over to their place about 2 miles from me and they drive to the trailhead at the Newfound Gap Parking Area about 27 miles and 48 minutes away.  The roads obviously are mountainous here and thus the speed limits are necessarily low.  It takes a while to get anywhere in the park.

The parking area has some wonderful views and several trail heads are here including the one we want.  The skies are looking a bit foggy but it’s early yet.



Somehow I did not know that John D Rockefeller who was so instrumental in the creation of Acadia National Park and Grand Teton National Park also donated 50% of the money to create Great Smoky Mountains National Park.  What a legacy this man has left. 

The inscription on the front of the viewing platform makes his generosity clear.


The trail begins with a nice set of steps to start us off. I’m really happy to be hiking again on the Appalachian trail and Tennesse to the states in which I have hiked a piece of it.

This is an uphill climb and the created steps give way to rock ‘sort of steps’.  Bill’s in the lead, I’m in the middle as I turn around to get this picture of Nancy behind  me.


The trail has some really niced sized trees on it.  I worry about the health of those with so many roots exposed to people walking on them and packing the soil down around them.



We see trail maintenance instructions along the way written on pieces of bring colored plastic.
Apparently the crew comes behind the assessor.




We can barely see the mountains as we reach our first viewpoint through the trees along the trail.  It’ll clear, it’ll clear Nancy says.


98 6906 08 10 12 13 14 mountain wood sorrel 15 17

But the fog comes to gets us as we hike.  Still it’s early.  Plenty of time


Things to see close at hand along the trail.



We spot more instructions in a different color.


This is the water bar being referred to.  With a gap like this, it will  let the water flow right down rather than off the trail.


I love the intricate painting of this Wood Sorrel

Still foggy, keeping my eyes near the ground when I see these guys on the side of the tree.


At this point, we’ve been climbing for about an hour and 20 minutes.  The path is rocky and a stead up hill climb.  Sometimes gradual, sometimes more steep.


Both the subtle and glaring clouors drew my eye as we pass this enormous rock.


Such a bright yellow lichen is always a bit shocking amid the softer greens and grays, tans and beige..


Like I said, rocky.  Think of the AT through hikers with heavy packs on their backs.


Really?  That’s where the trail goes?  That’s a pretty narrow strip of nothing.  How did he get up there?  My legs aren’t that long.  He comes back to give us a hand.


Boy are we thrilled to see the blue skies and white clouds even if the view is a bit restricted at least for me.



Good thing Nancy knows where we are going because there isn’t a mention of the Jump Off.




Bill takes care of a trail obstacle.  Always nice to have a strongman along.  Especially one you can see so well now that he’s taken off his long sleeve shirt

These two made me laugh.


Nancy shows how steep and rocky some of this trail is


Bright orange this time.


The weaver is there in the center of her beautiful web.  All I can say is wow!


We’re almost there when the fog seems to be returning.


When we arrive, the air is so heavy with moisture that my camera focuses on the water drops rather than the “view”


We’ve come 3.5 miles for this view.  We’re at 6225 feet.


We know that the fog in the mountains comes and goes so we check every direction.   We stay and have our lunch.  No let up.


Eventually we give up and start back down.


The trail at this point is even more of a channel than the picture above.  I’d hate to get caught in a real down pour here when this would be like a river of water.  It’s muddy enough right now.


Very tall trees.

Looks like a nice soft pine needled spot to sit and take a picture of the beauty all around us.



It’s about an hour later when we’re back at the spot where there were distant clear views before, there are again so we take what we can get.   The jump off is tight spot and there are few places to sit and wait for the clouds to lift.


The sun is now shining on these gorgeous Turks Cap Lilies.  I wonder what the view at the top looks  like n ow?


It’s the Smoky Mountains all right.  Smoky as in haze and probably fog too.



We don’t have the 360 degree views of higher up but it’s still grand.  It was an interesting hike and we’re glad we came.


Back at the parking lot Nancy gets this picture for me.  It’s not the 4 corners but it is the state line running across the mountains.


Here’s one of the glorious views we were supposed to have had.  Thanks to the website shown.  At least I know what we missed now.

web view of Jump-Off


  1. Tough hike and too bad it was fogged in...still some lovely views and good company :) The Smokies are very pretty mountains!

  2. Any hike is a grand hike even with the fog. Glad you had a few areas of blue sky. Sorry the top was fogged in. The view would have been spectacular, but what a great hike and a wonderful workout. Love the damp spider web:)

  3. Yes, that is quite a spider web!
    Disappointing that you missed the views at the top but looks like a great hike anyway.
    I didn't know that John D. Rockefeller helped create GSMNP, too.

  4. As a VIEW seeker, I was sorry we missed it. But the hike itself was great:o)) Love the challenges on the rocks, roots and incline!!! Always fun to hike the Appalachian Trail...never disappoints!!! Hope before you leave, you get to give it or maybe Charles Bunion so I can get to see the views;-))

  5. A shame about the view ... but c’est la vie as they say. We’ve been skunked at times when Mother Nature doesn’t cooperate with our plans. Still, a nice hike ... and that weaver sure knows how to weave a gem of a web. With dew drops it would be sparkling in the sun like a diamond necklace.

  6. Great photos as usual but I love the one of you by the sign.

  7. A nice hike made even better with Nancy and Bill along. Bill is one herky guy, remind me to always stay on his good side! ;c)

  8. I think the mist adds a pretty touch to everything.

    I recently re-read a book on the National Parks. Rockefeller's efforts in numerous spots is part of that story. I think part of his efforts came from an appreciation for beautiful landscapes, and part of it came from a need to atone, perhaps. His father had been a noted philanthropist as well, but had a reputation in some circles as the most hated man in America.

  9. Nice spider web. Lots of good fungus pictures. May have missed some views, but fog in the mountains is always interesting too.

  10. Those were beautiful tiger lily flowers!! were they wild??? i suppose so, dumb question, u were out in the wilderness on a hike, huh??

  11. You can't always get the far views. Just makes what's up close even better. Like that awesome shot of the spider web. Some of that trail looks like a river channel so I'm glad it didn't pour on you all. Still amazed by those rocky trails.

  12. I didn't realize that Rockefeller did so much for the national parks. What a legacy! So fun that you were able to meet up with Nancy and Bill, especially since you've been doing so much hiking solo. Another gorgeous trail—even if the views didn't materialize, the journey was beautiful. Your spiderweb photo is fantastic!

  13. I'm a bit behind in blog reading. Got a lot going on, :) Cool that you are hiking with Bill & Nancy, too bad the fog and clouds were socking you in.

  14. Wow, that spider web is a beauty and I have never seen as big and wide like that. You may be fogged out but you got a good work out, for it looks like a tough one with lots of ups and down. And you had great company!

  15. You got great pictures even though it was foggy. Thanks for sharing!

  16. Usually I love the fog, but wouldn't be thrilled to see it after that climb! Those roots and rocks look grueling. Love that web!!! What a great shot.


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