National Park Adventures & History

Featured Posts
  1. The Strange Case of Cades Lake

    The Strange Case of Cades Lake

  2. The Road that Led Around the World

    The Road that Led Around the World

  3. Little Sluice of Heaven: A tiny sliver of the A.T.

    Little Sluice of Heaven: A tiny sliver of the A.T.

  1. Explore Big Creek on a Scavenger Hike

    Big Creek - Valerie Polk

    By Valerie Polk

    Guided by the Scavenger Hike Adventures book, my family and I set out for Big Creek eager for the challenge. Arriving at the parking area, we immediately recognized the old logging mill foundation and tried to imagine what it might have been like back in the day when the Big Creek basin was abuzz with lumber operations. Other scavenger hike items within the parking area were easy enough to find, teaching us about the importance of using bear-proof garbage cans and introducing us to the flora of the area.

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  2. The Road that Led Around the World

    Newfound Gap Road

    By Mike Aday

    What do Great Smoky Mountains National Park, Ethiopia, Panama and Alaska have in common? They can all boast major roads built by one man, Knoxville native John L. Humbard. Well, technically, a lot of men were involved, but Humbard supervised them all.

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  3. Little Sluice of Heaven: A tiny sliver of the A.T.

    Rhodo Tunnel Chestnut Branch

    By Lisa Duff

    Memorial Day Monday found me with a mild case of cabin fever, which was a bit strange since CF is typically a wintertime ailment. What happened was this: I’d successfully managed to add a few at-home days to the end of my vacation to allow for ease of real-world re-entry, and Monday, as it turned out, was one day too many.

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  4. Cades Cove Story re-released by GSMA

    Cades Cove Story re-released by GSMA

    “No story of Cades Cove can ever be complete…” These humble words written by A. Randolph Shields in 1977 comprise the first line of The Cades Cove Story. The enduring legacy of this work continues to connect readers to the lives of the people who once lived in one of the most beloved places in all the national parks.

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  5. Goshen Prong on Mother's Day

    Mother's Day camping

    By Lisa Duff

    Three years ago, as Mother’s Day was approaching, I decided it was high time my daughter and I started a new tradition in recognition of the day dedicated to mothers everywhere. No more would she need to worry herself about what tangible item or simple gesture might make an appropriate gift, I informed her. No shiny trinket, small kitchen appliance or fancy meal out would be necessary for me to feel appreciated.

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  6. Back of Beyond, new Kephart biography from Great Smoky Mountains Association, invites readers to truly 'know the man'

    Back of Beyond book cover

    An icon of the Southern Appalachian region known for the seminal books Camping and Woodcraft (1906) and Our Southern Highlanders (1913), Horace Kephart was instrumental in efforts to establish the Appalachian Trail along the Tennessee-North Carolina border.

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  7. Exploring Laurel Falls again, 15 years later

    Exploring Laurel Falls

    By Elise Anderson

    Kemp Writer in Residence

    After attempting Ramsey Cascades as my first hike in the Smokies this year and turning around just ¾ mile shy of the top (wisely, or I’d have never made it back down), I decided to re-visit a classic for my second hike of the year: Laurel Falls. The 1.3-mile trail up to the waterfall is much easier than Ramsey Cascades, ranking at a difficulty level of 2 compared to Ramsey’s 12.

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  8. Presidential Pets & the Great Smoky Mountains

    Presidential Pets

    The White House has been home to more pets than people over its long history. First Pets have ranged from the commonplace, like Bo, President Obama’s Portuguese water dog, to the Scottish terriers, English springer spaniel, and cat that President George W. Bush. Others have included the bizarre and downright dangerous, such as the zebra kept by Theodore Roosevelt and the alligator, a gift from the Marquis de Lafayette, that John Quincy Adams kept in a White House bathroom.

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  9. A conversation with the authors of the new Kephart biography

    Book cover of Back of Beyond by George Ellison and Janet McCue

    Working with literary authorities George Ellison and Janet McCue to edit their new book, Back of Beyond: A Horace Kephart Biography, was like being a roadie for a dynamic singer-songwriter duo (imagine going on tour with Van Morrison and Joni Mitchell). George and Janet are so creative, so steeped in the literature of the Smokies region, and so attuned to all things Kephart that it was mesmerizing and magical to interact with them on a daily basis.

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  10. Gearing up, Branching out

    Roaring Fork early spring photo by Gary Wilson

    Every spring people flock to the Smokies to view our park’s spectacular displays of wildflowers that begin blooming at the lower elevations and creep uphill as the temperatures warm and days grow longer.

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