Members are invited to Branch Out
with Great Smoky Mountains Association
This year's Hiking 101 program takes as its inspired the churches and cemeteries found within the park boundary and provides participants with in-depth histories of each site. It could be said that all the land within the park is sacred space because of those who lived, died and remain in unmarked or lost graves, in family burial plots and in community or church cemeteries. And while some cemeteries can be easily found a few feet off most trails, don't be fooled into thinking these will be easy outings. Some of these trips will require many hours to cover lots of miles.
Guides Hugh and Sue Aukerman will greet us at Mingus Mill and immediately lead the group to 4 graveyards. Then, we’ll head into the woods for a visit to the Cherokee carved headstone of Mrs. Polly Mathis, who died of palsy in 1934. Our steep climb will take us to a lunch spot at the intersection with Deeplow Gap Trail.
Rated: Moderate to strenuous
Estimated Distance: 8 miles maximum