Wednesday, March 30, 2016, Hike -- Porter's Creek (GSMNP)

This is a great spring wildflower hike with 60' Fern Branch Falls in the Greenbrier section of the Smokies. The forest floor can literally be carpeted with bloodroot, hepaticas, white fringed phacelia, violets, white trilliums and many other varieties. There are several old stone walls that are remnants from the Elbert Cantrell farmstead, who settled in the Porters Creek community in the early 1900s. We will also visit Ownby Cemetery, which also dates back to the early part of the 20th century. A short spur trail takes you to John Messer farm site, which includes a cantilevered barn that was built by John Whaley around 1875 and a cabin that was built by the Smoky Mountain Hiking Club in the mid-1930s. Members of the club were permitted to use the cabin as an overnight facility until 1981. It is a moderate 8.5 mile hike with a 1500' climb over 3.5 miles to a campsite and then return the same way back. Depart Vanity Fair west parking lot at 7:30 am CT. We plan to stop for dinner on the way home at a restaurant to be voted on at the end of the hike. Carpool cost $8. Photos: Cheryl, Pat, Clark

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