My son an I headed up into the high elevations of the park this weekend. It was a great way to get away from the grind, the heat, and enjoy some time together in God's country. We headed down from Clingmans Dome to campsite #69. Clingmans is around 6500 feet and about 15 degrees cooler than Athens, GA. It was a welcome reprieve.
It was a nice trail, but being narrow and rocky the going was rather slow. A crystal clear feeder made a nice place for a rest.
There had been some bear activity in the area and campsite #68 was closed due to said activity. We started to see tracks and other signs of activity after a few miles. It just felt like we were not alone. About five miles in and nearing our destination I heard some rustling up above as we were working down some long switchbacks. I stopped, and looked, and made eye contact with a small cub who was uphill of us and maybe 10 yard away if that. Startled we listened for momma. The cub darted uphill and around us and we moved forward on the trail in the opposite direction. The switchback turned after fifty yards or so and as we proceeded I caught sight of the huge momma maybe 100 yards out. I was thankful to spot her, and thankful that when she spotted me she took off in the other direction.
Forney is absolutely beautiful, and a picture perfect GSMP boulder strewn stream. I didn't fish but for an hour around camp. Caught a handful of small bows, moved a bunch more, but they were highly selective and very lazy in their rise.
We had a good night at camp with no visitors . We did spot another bear on the way out, but it was an adolescent and took off quickly. All in all it was a good trip and very memorable. My legs are feeling today though. The climb back up to Clingmans is a brute.