Without snow clogging our trails (yet), winter hiking is splendid with empty trails. And crystal clear vistas are perfect for photography.
The horses and cows have left the neighboring Cataloochee Ranch for the winter, so we can hike and enjoy the views without worrying about running into others. The ranch has numerous trails to explore the eastern edge of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. (A series of blog posts about winter hiking at the ranch is being created by one of the owners. I am looking forward to more of her posts which can be found here.)
One of the most famous peaks on the ranch is Hemphill Bald – half of which is inside the GSMNP. Just below that peak, the vista opens into the beauty of the park as seen above.
The last photograph in the series is one of the many scenes on the ranch – a small clump of windswept trees in the high altitude meadow.