Tag: Trailside Talk

  1. Trailside Talk: A Wildflower for Dot

    Trailside Talk: A Wildflower for Dot A wintery wind is still hurrying through the mountains, but the wildflowers of the Smokies’ spring are bursting forth. It is this time of the year in these mountains that reminds me of my late and beloved friend Dot Jackson, whose connections to and love for the Smokies were long and strong. Dot Jackson, photo courtesy of Read more...
  2. Trailside Talk: Quiet History and Scenic Beauty in Cataloochee Valley

    Trailside Talk: Quiet History and Scenic Beauty in Cataloochee Valley Visitors to Cades Cove, one of the most popular spots in Great Smoky Mountains National Park, might be interested to know that there were discussions in the park’s formative days of preserving parts of another Smokies community in similar fashion.  A view of Cataloochee Field, 1938. Courtesy of GSMNP archives. Read more...
  3. Trailside Talk: Searching for Clingmans Lost Apostrophe

    Trailside Talk: Searching for Clingmans Lost Apostrophe Image by Harry Cooke The highest point in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park is also one of its oddest. Clingmans Dome, at 6,643 feet, is the absolute roof of the Smokies, an imposing mountain within a group of imposing mountains. Unlike some other giants of the Appalachians, it isn’t necessarily a target of serious mountain Read more...
  4. Trailside Talk: Elk Ignore Park Signs

    Trailside Talk: Elk Ignore Park Signs Photos courtesy of Joye Ardyn Durhum The elk population in the Smokies has been one of the park’s key attractions for two decades. In the early days of this grand experiment that has worked so well, elk headquarters was in Cataloochee. I made the 45-minute drive into the valley several times to see them. And, sometimes, to hear them, Read more...
  5. Trailside Talk: Mt. Guyot

    Trailside Talk: Mt. Guyot Every year, thousands of Great Smoky Mountains National Park visitors walk up the curving ramp at Clingmans Dome to reach the park’s highest point. Not too far away, others swarm one of six trails to access perhaps the Smokies’ most beloved mountain, Le Conte, the park’s third highest. But what about the other peak in the Read more...
  6. Trailside Talk: Look! A Salamander!

    Trailside Talk: Look! A Salamander! Many of the millions of visitors who cross into Great Smoky Mountains National Park every year arrive with anticipation of seeing wild animals. And when they see them, folks sometimes get so excited they can’t fully control their enthusiasm—especially when the animals are bears. Camera phones are whipped out of pockets. Children& Read more...
  7. Trailside Talk: Finding the Gap

    Trailside Talk: Finding the Gap Newfound Gap is a gathering place for the many publics of Great Smoky Mountains National Park. It was not always this way. A “gap” is just that—an opening between mountains. For much of recorded time, mountain gaps were places of less resistance; in other words, to get from point A to point B it made sense to seek the lower Read more...
  8. Trailside Talk: Autumn’s Best

    Trailside Talk: Autumn’s Best For those wondering what the most difficult thing about visiting Great Smoky Mountains National Park might be, here it is: choosing the best place in the park to see autumn color. Picking the place and time for brilliant fall color in the park is sort of a cottage industry. Scientists do it. Hoteliers do it. Tourism agencies do it. Even the Read more...
  9. Trailside Talk: Boughs of Balsam

    Trailside Talk: Boughs of Balsam Visitors to hotels sometimes grumble about the quality of the beds in their rooms. Mattresses are too hard, or maybe too soft. Pillows are too bouncy, or too flat. Fitted sheets won’t stay put. Perhaps surprisingly, some aspects of snoozing became an official topic of discussion in the Smokies even before the park was officially Read more...
  10. Trailside Talk: Words from FDR

    Trailside Talk: Words from FDR Although there are amazing places to visit along the trails of Great Smoky Mountains National Park and visual wonders deep in the backcountry, one of the most dynamic spots to put one’s feet is only a few yards from a heavily traveled roadway. At Newfound Gap, generally considered the “center” of the Smokies, you can stand in Read more...

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