Mingus Mill Creek Trail

Mingus Mill Cemetery with stone heads

It is here that the stories of the Smokies live forever

Today I will do the Mingus Mill Creek trail for a second time. (06/06/22). The Great Smoky Mountains is full of beautiful, quiet, adventurous, and historic trails. One of the first trails I have done and one of my favorite is the Mingus Mill Creek Trail. This trail starts at the end of the Mingus Mill parking lot and ends at the cemetery. The mileage is a 3.6 round-trip hike. It follows various creeks and reaches a historic European settler cemetery The walk is quiet and surrounded by beautiful trees and creeks. The cemetery is a place rich in history, mystery, and a great place to relax after the hike.

Starting the trail

Just starting the trail I find this Tufted Titmouse (Baeolophus bicolor) on the floor. I think the forest was welcoming me.

A Tufted Titmouse (Baeolophus bicolor) is perched on my finger
Tufted Titmouse (Baeolophus bicolor)
A Tufted Titmouse (Baeolophus bicolor) that looks like me
We kinda look alike

Cool finds on the trail

After my encounter with the Tufted Titmouse that shares a striking resemblance to myself, I continued the trail. The trail is surrounded by creeks. The creeks provides a safe and nutrition-rich habitat for a whole variety and animals such as macro invertebrates, salamanders, plants, and small fish. I found a couple of them along the way.

Something different I witnessed was my first observation of the infamous Hemlock Wooly Adelgid (Adelges tsugae) just outside the cemetery entrance. “It is an aphid-like insect that covers itself with a white, waxy “wool” which acts as a protective coating for the insect. The hemlock woolly adelgid feeds on the sap at the base of hemlock needles, disrupting nutrient flow and causing the needles to change from deep green to a grayish green, then fall off. Without needles the tree starves to death” (GSMNP).

Hemlock Wooly Adelgid (Adelges tsugae) on a Hemlock tree

“Without successful intervention, the hemlock woolly adelgid is likely to kill most of the hemlock trees in the park.”


Mingus Mill settler cemetery

I have visited the Mingus Mill settler cemetery two times and each trip has been a unique and unforgettable experience.. In my first trip I saw around 20 salamanders, now on my second trip I saw around 10 salamanders and a juvenile Tufted Titmouse (Baeolophus bicolor) as a bonus. This has become my favorite hike, not only because of the animals I can find, but also because the history it will forever tell in the Smokies. The trail also gives me time to think and enjoy the little things in life. I will continue to walk this trail for the rest of the summer, discovering salamander species, enjoying the blooming flowers, and respecting the lives of those come before me. I enjoy that this trail is rarely hiked. At the end, there is only one thing I desire while hiking, to be immersed in the forest. This trail is the perfect choice. And to refresh myself, I can always take a quick dip in the waterfall at the Mingus Mill.

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