Tuesday, June 7, 2011
We came in following the road south of Hot Springs. It offers many beautiful views and country scenes, but I had dubbed it 'The Corkscrew' (update...Just found out others call it The Rattler), both are appropriate! Eventually, you turn off the main road and follow a gravel road for many miles. So not only is it remote, but it's also slow going. I thought it would be a bit more straight forward coming in from I-40, but the descriptions of that route seem to indicate the road turns to gravel and is slow going as well. Anyone care to comment on that approach? Parking is limited, so I recommend going early or on a week day. And while plenty of cars were in the lot, I was glad to have a high clearance vehicle for the rough gravel road.
Ran into a couple of through hikers while there, always fun to talk to them about their experiences. The one on the left is from Massachusetts, the one leading the way is from New Mexico. The AT crosses over Max Patch, and both of these hikers commented on how the views and the cool breezes 'made their day' after hiking through the sweltering heat. In that sense, it reminded me of the balds on Roan Mountain - where it's always 10-15 degrees cooler than down below.
After visiting Max Patch, we were determined to find Wolf Creek Falls again - this time by car. I'll write about that next time...[Update: here's that post!]
Detailed directions from Hot Springs and Asheville here. Map showing route from Johnson City to Hot Springs, NC to Max Patch.