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Hike - Bob Stratton Bald - Wed., May 9, 2012

          Depart at 8:00 a.m. from the Cooper Visitor Center
Distance:   Approx. 7 miles
Rating:  Difficult
Driving Time:  1.5 hours
Leader:  Gail Eades   865-599-6785

Bob Stratton Bald is a grassy meadow located off the Cherohala Skyway at an elevation of 5360 feet and offers views of the Unicoi mountains as well as the Joyce Kilmer Wilderness Area. 
The trailhead is located at Beech Gap just before the North Carolina border.  The first 1.8 miles is on a fairly flat and wide trail with minimum elevation changes.  For the remaining 1.5 miles the trail changes to a narrow trail which is somewhat rutted (cup shaped) and follows a ridge line through patches of rhododendrons and blackberry bushes.  The elevation change for this portion of the trail is 749 feet over 1.1 miles with the most difficult portion being a 0.2 mile stretch which is rated moderate to strenuous.
Please keep in mind that weather conditions at these elevations can be more extreme than at lower elevations.
Hiking boots and hiking sticks are recommended. Driving directions will be provided the morning of the hike. Bring
water and a trail lunch. Carpooling is recommended, passengers are asked to contribute $6 to the driver to help cover gas, etc.