Crossing the Nantahala Gorge

June 12-13, 2008

The Nantahala River runs through a gorge that is eroded deep down into a marble layer, so we Trail hikers have to go down and up 2700 feet from the mountain tops of Wesser Bald and Cheoah Bald to the river level.

These photos are from the Jump Ups, which are little promontories at the 3800-4000 ft level on both sides. I suppose they represent some particularly hard strata in the overlying rocks, which resisted erosion. The top is looking north from the Wesser Jump Up, at the ridge I've just climbed up, with a little glimpse of Fontana Lake in the distance, and the Smokies beyond. Below is a view south from the Cheoah Jump Up - it's been raining and the clouds are amazing. You may be able to see the river down there at the bottom. It's a popular rafting section, I think with water releases from a hydro-electric dam upstream.

As I climbed out of the gorge heading south, the rosebay rhododendrons were blooming along the shady north slopes.

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