Tag: Hiking

  1. 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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  2. 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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  3. Little Sluice of Heaven: Creek Crossings and Crippling Critters

    Little Sluice of Heaven: Creek Crossings and Crippling Critters

    By Lisa Duff

    When Great Smoky Mountains Association volunteer hike guide Lloyd Shiver suggested we knock out two trails with significant creek crossings this summer, I thought, “Can’t ask for a better time to cool off in the Smokies than late June and July.” Add to that the fact boat rides would be required to cross Fontana Lake at the conclusion of each, I jumped at the chance to join in.

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  4. 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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  5. Clingmans Dome Bypass Trail

    Clingmans Dome Tower

    Clingmans Dome Road, which carries passenger vehicles to the Top of Ol' Smoky, is expected to open to the public about 48 hours ahead of schedule this spring. Weather permitting, look for the gate to swing on the morning of Saturday, March 30.

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  6. Fighting Creek Nature Trail

    Fighting Creek Nature Trail

    Note: Originally posted on January 2014. Reposted here with permission from the author.

    Great Smoky Mountains National Park was my hiking destination yesterday. Leaving Asheville at 9 a.m., I traveled to Gatlinburg for a meeting with Todd Witcher, executive director for Discover Life in America, a nonprofit organization that manages a thorough scientific inventory of all the park’s species that has been going on for the past 15 years.

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  7. Chestnut Branch Trail November 2018

    Chestnut Branch Trail

    Not far from the Big Creek entrance to Great Smoky Mountains National Park is a straightforward hiking trail where a streamside 1890s-era logging settlement and other signs of former inhabitants have long since been reclaimed by the forest.

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  8. Looking towards tomorrow: memories of a holiday hike in the Smokies by Elizabeth Giddens

    Winter in the Smokies

    When I was in grad school at the University of Tennessee in the 1980s, I usually came back to Knoxville from the Christmas break before New Year’s. Doing so gave me a week to get ready for the next quarter at school, plan for classes I would be teaching, clean my drafty and dusty Ft. Sanders apartment, get groceries in, and goof off some. Even so, my hiking friends and I usually found time for a day hike, an all-day one—an extravagance that would not come often once the pressures of classes took over our lives. Another draw was that the park was quiet in January—it was not leaf season, not wildflower time, no rhododendrons blooming. Few folks were on the trails, so we could get a long hike in and be away from care as well as traffic and, well, people.

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  9. My Ten-Mile Memory – Alum Cave Bluffs

    Whether you’re doing an out-and-back day trip, a car drop to incorporate more than one trail experience or planning a one-night backcountry trip, at some point, Alum Cave Trail falls into your lap as a must-do trail in the Smokies.

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  10. Gunter Fork Trail – A Very Long Haul

    Gunter Fork Trail

    I looked up the weather, phoned a friend, and planned our vehicle shuttle for a pick up at Balsam Mountain Trail. We were about to embark on 15.9 miles of backcountry hiking to complete 4.1 miles of trail that is notorious for difficult water crossings in the spring. Knowing our mileage would be long, we hit Big Creek Trail at dawn and started a fast pace along the gently ascending Big Creek Trail 6.1 miles, passed Low Gap Trail in the blink of an eye and left Camel Gap Trail in our dust.

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