After an entire month of not accumulating any new miles in the park, the weather and my procrastination finally reached an accord enabling me to knock out the Goshen Prong Trail in a great hike from Clingmans Dome to Elkmont.
Temps at the Dome were in the 50's and the views were grand.
Despite the week's cool temps and heavy rains, even the Trout Lilies near the Dome were in fine shape.
Not long after leaving the AT, the trail conditions got a little rough and rocky.
A vast cave in which one can crawl a ways into is situated just over halfway down from the AT to the campsite.
Where I was able to cross this unmentioned and unbridged stream crossing is somewhere at the top of the picture.
Taking a look at the mighty Goshen Gate Bridge over the Little River.
The clusters of Showy Orchis along the Little River Trail were the most impressive I've ever seen in the park anywhere.
Rarely do I ever describe my hikes around LeConte, but our two treks up and down (and vice versa) the two halves of the Bull Head Trail warrant some attention.
Much to my amazement, the Fraser Magnolias were blooming at the mid elevations.
Even the painted trilliums got off to an early start this year, a pleasant surprise.
With hopes of a sunnier afternoon, we took the weather forecast for its word and headed up to Mount Cammerer to behold its spring beauty.
Breaks in the clouds above offered rare glimpses of blue skies while everything else remained socked in.
Shortly after we left, the clouds broke and we could see peaks and valleys all around, so we immediatley returned to the tower to soak it all up.
With the sun's reintroduction, the Trout Lilies began to open their droopy heads.
Even the Spring Beauties burst open with the sun's help to cover the mountain in white for miles and miles.
Low Gap was adorned with a blanket of White Fringed Phacelia.
At trail's end we were treated to one of a few large Vasey's Trillium.
We made sure to get an early morning start to enjoy the beauty of White Oak Sink and Chestnut Top before we returned to the mountain for work.
Here were are standing in a small portion of the sea of blue phlox at White Oak Sink.
The Fire Pink was out in full force at Chestnut Top.
Admiring a few of the White Dogwoods at the Sugarlands Visitor Center before calling it a day.
We decided to take advantage of the nice weather and enjoy the spring explosion in the lower elevations by visiting both Porters Creek and the Cove Hardwoods Nature Trail.
One of our first treats of the hike was this fine patch of crested dwarf irises, a favorite of both of ours.
On the return trip we stopped by the Whaley homestead. Upon her exploring of the spring house, Bonnie pointed out this smal crawfish.
Several slopes were blanketed in the White Fringed Phacelia at both Porters Creek and the Chimneys Picnic Area.