Today was my first day back for Thanksgiving break. Instead of sleeping in like what I probably would’ve done, Brandon and I headed out at around 9am to hike to the Jump Off. It’s a lesser-known destination in the Smokies, but it definitely deserves a lot more attention.
The drive up was beautiful. We caught the leaves in their end stages of transitioning from fall to winter. Quite a few of the trees were still colored bright red, orange, or yellow. Eventually, we got to Newfound Gap where the hike began. It was around three miles to the Jump Off from the trailhead. Luckily enough for me, the hike was pretty easy and not that strenuous.
At our final elevation of 6130 feet, we were greeted with a beautiful view. But if you’re asking yourself, why does it look like there’s a layer of smoke over the mountains?, it’s because there definitely was. The whole hike up smelled like a burnt out campfire. We drove back from the Smokies literally smelling like smoke. It was an unfortunate consequence of the forest fires that have been occurring across Tennessee and North Carolina. Nevertheless, a little smoke wasn’t able to cover up the beauty that was the Great Smoky Mountains. It felt good to be back. (And I had a great hiking buddy. Thanks for hiking with me, Bro.)