Today, I hiked to Ramsey Cascades. The trail was an 8.0 mile total, out and back with 2190 feet of climbing. The trail winds along the Middle Prong of the Little Pigeon River through the largest old growth forest in the national park. I walked past the three largest trees I've ever seen, and everywhere was filled with life: wild flowers, butterflies, moss, trees, undergrowth, fungi. It felt like walking through a Hayao Miyazaki film. The trail ends at Ramsey Cascades the tallest waterfall in the park at 100 feet (though Rainbow Falls at 80 feet is the largest single drop waterfall in the park).
On the hike back I walked past a rattlesnake 10 feet off the trail. It rattled as I walked past, and was loud enough to hear over the sound of the creek. A half mile later I walked past an agitated bee hive. I walked calmly and briskly and avoided getting stung.
I brought my fully charged camera but unfortunately forgot the memory card. The only photos I took were on my phone (the best camera is the one you have with you), so I will hike it again to get better photos.