Nathan decided to join me on the Acid Decomposition sampling yesterday. We finished up a little before noon and headed back up the mountain to go check out the Trout Branch landslide which happened in early August after 6 inched of rain hit Mt. LeConte in under 24 hours. To reach the landslide you must first walk up Trout Branch to the 4000 elevation mark, then look for the table rock and the huge slide to the right.
While the walk isn't too hard, you do have to battle the rhodo here and there, so unless you like off-trail. Water was freezing up in the lower pools forming a beautiful collection of crystals
As we got a little closer, the signs of Anakeesta damage started to appear.
The burnt orange stuff reminds me of AMD (Acid Mine Drainage) that you see coming off abandoned mine sites on the Cumberland Plateau. Not something I like seeing in the Smokies as a trout fisherman.
And I grabbed some of the sediment that had covered the bottom
And here is a view of the new landslide drainage with its nasty water flowing into Trout Branch (hope there are still trout there).
The Professor decided we needed to do a little water testing. I will let him speak to what he found. It was a lot better than I initially thought, although it has had 5 months to settle.
After a little playing with the Chemistry gear we moved up to the giant pile up of debree from the slide. When I was here a couple months ago it was over 40 feet tall and maybe 60 feet wide. After the last 3 big rain events it was obvious things had dramatically changed.
The next series of slides has moved the pile an additional 60 feet down river and spread it out 3 times as wide. The force that it took to move this pile had to have been incredible, and goes to show how dynamic mother nature can be.
Where Nathan is standing was where the big pile was on my last visit.
And here is a view up at the landslide from the bottom.
We began working our way up, but soon had to make a detour into the Rhodo since we weren't up for climbing frozen waterfalls. Just think if this didn't happen to be off-trail, swarms of tourons would be here.
Continued in next post