Hike: Cherokee Ridge North & South Loops, Sat. 1/28/2017, 08:50-11:30CST
Distance: ~4.5 miles Difficulty: Moderate Rating: 4.8/5.0
Conditions: Partly cloudy sky. Wind calm to light. Temps starting in low 40s. Trails damp but no mud. Evidence of significant rain recently with leaves, needles, and twigs washed to side and down the slopes. Water still seeping from large boulders.
Aquamarine water reflected the azure sky. Some sloughs were almost a neon green. The ridge-lines and trees helped shield me from the cooling effects of wind and prompted me to remove my fleece pullover less than a mile into the hike. A small white tailed doe stopped and stared at me near the North Loop intersection with Chimney Rock Trail. Later on I was treated to a close encounter with two larger does near trail's end.
Crows provided a raucous salute as I left the trail head but I was surprised to find no passerine companions along the trail. Squirrels and chipmunks were also absent today. I was surprised by some wild rhododendrons blooming along the lake shore. It certainly seems too soon for Spring (though it would be okay by me).
Most of the hike was unspoiled by the sound of boat or aircraft engines. The forest is a wonderful place of peace and refreshing. Thank YOU, LORD, for YOUR presence.