Corbin Cabin - Nicholson Hollow - Appalachian Trail Loop
Yesterday, Adam and I got an early start on our weekend hike. We left our house around 6:30, so I could take some early morning photos. We planned to grab some breakfast at the Big Meadows Wayside before setting out on our hike.
There wasn't really much in the way of landscape-type scenery along Skyline Drive, as most of the trees are still bare and brown. We got to Big Meadows and found close to thirty whitetails grazing. I spent a little time harassing them with my camera, and then we headed to breakfast.
Much to our dismay, the wayside didn't start serving breakfast until 9:00 a.m. I think that's sheer insanity -- people staying in the park usually don't sleep in. And geez... even McDonald's opens for breakfast at 5:00 a.m. We decided to try the main lodge for breakfast, but it was closed for a "private event." At this point, I started freaking out -- I can't hike without breakfast or coffee!
Luckily, the Skyland Lodge (about 20 minutes up Skyline Drive) was open and serving breakfast. I had a Bavarian Malted Waffle and Bacon (and lots of coffee) -- YUM! After that, we set out on our hike. It was pretty hot - already over 70 degrees at 8:00 a.m. We doused ourselves with DEET (yes... much to my dismay -- bug season is here) and made our way down the trail. The Corbin Cabin trail is a very steep downhill with lots of loose, rocky footing. Eventually, the trail turns to a more gentle downhill. Around that point, you start seeing remnants of cabins and stone walls left behind by the mountain people who used to live in the area (before the government confiscated their land and threw them out.)
About a mile and a half along the way, you reach the Nicholson Cabin. It's slowly being reclaimed by the forest. We poked around the cabin for a few minutes and then made our way across the Hughes River. The Hughes was running higher than usual and would have been a perfect spot for some long exposure shots. Next time it's cloudy, I may head back down. Immediately on the other side of the river lies the Corbin Cabin. It was built by George Corbin in 1910. It's now maintained by the Potomac Appalachian Trail Club and can be rented by anyone seeking more comfortable backcountry camping. The Nicholson Cabin across the river was built and owned by one of Corbin's inlaws.
We hiked back up via the Nicholson Hollow Trail. It's a steep uphill for about two miles. Along the way, I saw lots of wildflowers starting to bloom... including the first trillium I've seen this year. The trail eventually comes out on Skyline Drive. At this point, we picked up the AT, and followed it north for about three quarters of a mile back to where we had parked our car.
Afterwards, we had a picnic lunch at Pinnacles and headed home. Fun day!