Tag: Hiking

  1. The Slowest Mile I’ve Ever Hiked

    The Slowest Mile I’ve Ever Hiked Story and photos by Hunter Upchurch Hunter Upchurch's oldest son exploring Arch Rock on March 18, 2017, after requesting to 'climb a mountain' for his fifth birthday. I have the curious distinction of being able to pinpoint precisely the slowest mile I’ve ever hiked: March 18, 2017, on Alum Cave Trail from the Read more...
  2. Trailside Talk: Alum Cave Trail—Heart of the Smokies

    Trailside Talk: Alum Cave Trail—Heart of the Smokies On any given day, and particularly on weekends, the trailhead parking area for Alum Cave Trail is among the most crowded in the Smokies. Cars spill out of the parking area and line up on the sides of US 441, the main road bisecting the park from north to south. It seems that some people like the trail so much that they are willing to walk Read more...
  3. Summer Hiking Tips: Part Two

    Great Smoky Mountains National Park offers hundreds of miles of backcountry trails perfect for summer walks in the woods. This is the second in a two-part series on ways to stay safe while hiking these paths during the summertime. There are common scenarios hikers might face during the summer months: storms, ticks, and heat, to name a few. Read more...
  4. Lessons in Misreading a Smokies Map

    Lessons in Misreading a Smokies Map Story and photo by Hunter Upchurch In my history classes, I try to teach my students that, as much as maps can reveal about a place, they can also obscure other important information. For example, a political map of Europe just prior to World War I can help us understand the rivalries between the German and Russian empires, whose borders at Read more...
  5. Summer Hiking Tips: Part One

    Summer Hiking Tips: Part One Story and images by Nancy East Imagine yourself in the open field atop Andrews Bald on a warm summer day. The shifting clouds form endless shapes, and an impromptu Rorschach test ensues with your hiking partners as you debate whether one looks like a fire-breathing dragon or a steam engine. As you pack up your lunch to hike back to the Read more...
  6. The Magic of a First Hike in the Smokies

    The Magic of a First Hike in the Smokies Story and photo by Hunter Upchurch Inspired by a family trip to Douglas Lake in East Tennessee in the summer of 2016, I decided I wanted to give hiking a try. Though I had grown up spending lots of time outdoors in the rural Mississippi Delta, the main activities were hunting and fishing, neither of which had much appealed to me as a kid. & Read more...
  7. Wildflower CPR—Yes, It’s a Real Thing

    Wildflower CPR—Yes, It’s a Real Thing Photos by Sue Wasserman Don’t you love when obscure, long-ago memories bubble up to the surface? I was walking on a trail the other day when a doozy of one brought a chuckle to my lips. I was taken back more than two decades to a conversation with my sister-in-law who was about to give birth to her first son. She told my brother and me Read more...
  8. Family-Friendly Walks in the Smokies: Nature Trails Part 1

    Family-Friendly Walks in the Smokies: Nature Trails Part 1 You don’t have to tackle long and arduous hiking trails in the Smokies to get the benefit of a great walk in the woods. Families will be happy to know that the national park offers more than a dozen nature and historic walking trails that are perfect for relatively easy family exploration. Most of the nature trails—developed by Read more...
  9. Wilderness Wildlife Week Makes Great Smoky Mountains Adventuring a Breeze

    Wilderness Wildlife Week Makes Great Smoky Mountains Adventuring a Breeze Photos by Sue Wasserman So many choices, so little time. That’s what I was thinking as I began considering just the right Great Smokies trail to meander while in Gatlinburg recently. GSMA Creative Services Director Frances Figart had no idea she was going to help make that decision easy. She had simply invited me to visit her at her Read more...
  10. Plan Like a Ranger When You Visit National Parks

    Plan Like a Ranger When You Visit National Parks By Frances Figart, Creative Services Director Visitation at national parks is increasing and expected to continue to grow throughout the summer. Great Smoky Mountains National Park is experiencing high monthly visitor numbers, suggesting we may top 2019’s record-breaking 12.5 million visitors by the end of 2021. Even during Read more...

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