Decided on the spur of the moment to do something I have been wanting to do for years, hike down to Deep Creek from Newfound Gap Rd. Got delayed meeting a lady friend and her family, etc. Didn't get on the trail till 3:00, took a little over an hour to get to 53. Was surprised to see a pretty younger lady who had hiked down the Fork Ridge Trail by herself and was going to setup camp at 53. Talked to her a while, then rigged up and starting fishing upstream. Didn't have a lot of time to fish, wanted to make sure I would get out before dark set in. I fished until the stream comes back to the trail, right before I go there I spotted something out of the corner of my eye after I released the second brookie of the day. Turned out to be a timber rattler, first I have seen in the Smokies, 3 foot long or so, very menacing looking with the black head and snake eyes Managed to move around the back of the beast to get a few pics, had to steady myself while taking them, didn't want to get bit and have to hike back out to Newfound Gap Rd.
As far as the fishing, of course water levels were low, and I only managed to catch two 6-7 inch brookies, but I was moving fast, this was more of an exploration trip to see the area. I met the young lady on the hike out, she had went up the Deep Creek trail a ways after I told her about that section. Showed her the picture of the snake, then I headed up the trail, the last part was a little rough, especially in the heat.
All in all, it was cool to do something I have wanted to do for ten years. Next time, I'll wait till water levels are higher, and take my camping gear so I can explore and fish that area thoroughly, hope I don't see another rattler