Backpacking Trip

The original plan was to go up Rich Mountain Loop Trail, take Indian Grave Gap and stay at Campsite #6. We would come down Scott Mountain Trail and Schoolhouse Gap. Matt would park his vehicle at the Schoolhouse Gap trailhead and the Collegeside Van would park at the Rich Mountain Loop trailhead. Bryan was going to come up after he got off work via the Crooked Arm Ridge trail.

After eating a good meal at Matt’s house, we left for the Smokies. Shortly after passing UT Hospital, we started to smell brakes. When we got into Maryville, you could see the smoke coming from his front left brake. He dropped it off at a service station and everybody loaded up into the van. Since we lost the vehicle for doing the shuttle (and some time), we decided to come up Crooked Arm Ridge, stay at #6, and come down Indian Grave Gap and Rich Mountain Loop. We ended up getting to the campsite before sundown. The most interesting item made at camp, was the Fried Gummy Worm.
Fried Gummy Worm
Bryan ended up arriving at camp roughly around 10:40 or so. In the morning, after breakfast and breaking down camp, we discussed the route options. Bryan was willing to go back down Crooked Arm Ridge and driving his truck to the Schoolhouse Gap trailhead. Another route considered was the plan we had come up with yesterday to go down the way we originally had planned to go up. A third route considered, was to go the Rich Mountain Trail to Rich Mountain Road. In the end, we ended up deciding to go down Scott Mountain and Schoolhouse Gap trails. Our itinerary changed a few times, but in the end, all that changed really was our way up to the campsite.

We stopped for lunch at the junction of Scott Mountain and Schoolhouse Gap. Interestingly, at this junction was also a picnic table. Since the trails lie on the edge of the park, the picnic table probably belonged to the Chalet that was also there, but it was nice to drop the pack and eat lunch sitting on a table. We had planned to meet back up with Bryan at the junction of Turkeypen Ridge and Schoolhouse Gap, so we could explore the White Oaks Sinks area. After a couple of hours of exploring in the area, we ended up hitting the trail to head back.
Trail Topo Map