August 10th, 2018
On Friday, just three days after having hiked the Kimsey Creek, Standing Indian and Lower Ridge Trail Loop, Pam and I found ourselves back at the Standing Indian Campground outside of Franklin, NC. On our previous visit, we had parked at the Kimsey Creek trailhead. This time, we drove another three or four miles further along the Forest Service Rd until we reached the Beech Gap trailhead and the start of our hike.
The Beech Gap Trail is 2.8 miles one way. It descends briefly at first, crosses Big Laurel Branch, then begins a long and steady climb up towards Beech Gap and the junction for the Appalachian Trail. At the junction, we joined the A.T. and continued to climb. While we were technically heading south, we were in reality, actually physically hiking north. This is one of those places where the Appalachian Trail meanders for many miles in the opposite direction before eventually correcting course.
Anyhow, we followed the A.T. “south” for 3.1 miles until we reached the top of Standing Indian Mountain. This was the second time in four days that we had been there, albeit via different routes. Since the sky was overcast and since the forecast called for rain in the afternoon, we didn’t linger for long. After eating a quick lunch, we turned around and began the hike out.
In all, we hiked 11.9 miles. Our total vertical elevation gain/loss was 4,500 feet. For me, the highlight of this hike was all of the wildflowers that we had encountered growing along the trail. I’m no expert plant-ologist by any means (lol), but I’ve done my best to try identify most of them. Let me know if I’ve misidentified any. Thanks for reading.