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Hike - Bob Stratton Bald/Hangover - Fri., Mar.11, 2016

FRIDAY,  MARCH 11, 2016
Depart at 8:00 a.m. from the Chota Center
Distance:  6 or 12 miles
Rating:   Moderate or Difficult
Driving Time:   1.5 hours
Elevation Gain:  Approx. 900 feet
Leader:  John Winn  865-824-6200
             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. Hangover is a rocky promitory three plus rugged miles beyond Bob Stratton Bald.  It offers one of the best mountain views in all of East TN.
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 stretch.  Please keep in mind that weather conditions at these elevations can be more extreme than at lower elevations.

We will have lunch at the Bald.  After lunch we are planning for most hikers to turn around at Bob Stratton Bald, a classic and unspoiled southern mountain bald well worth the climb to get there.  Gail Eades will lead that group back to the cars.
For those who may want to continue on, we will have an optional extended hike to Hangover Lead, 12.3 miles round trip.  Hangover Lead is a difficult hike, but the view is one of the best in East TN.  You can see  the Little Tennessee River Valley from Santeetlah Lake near Robbinsville to the 411 bridge in Vonore.  The portion of Hwy. 129 known as The Dragon runs through the valley far below and the Smokies stretch out in the distance in the center of the view.