Tag: Trailside Talk

  1. Trailside Talk: Finding Solitude in a Busy Park

    Trailside Talk: Finding Solitude in a Busy Park For many people, national parks are about an escape from daily life, a place to find peace and quiet alongside a stream, on the shore of a deep lake, or at the highest point of a mountain. Is this sort of reverie possible in Great Smoky Mountains National Park, the nation’s most heavily visited? The answer is not only “yes,” Read more...
  2. Trailside Talk: The Wonder of Falling Water

    Trailside Talk:  The Wonder of Falling Water The Smokies have waterfalls, dozens of them. Tall, wide, swift, slow. You can find them on the roadside and deep in the Smokies wilderness. Laurel Falls Cascades. GSMA Archives. Walking to a beautiful waterfall is the objective of many Smokies hikers. The hike is often its own reward, but to round a corner in the forest, Read more...
  3. Trailside Talk: Approaching Autumn

    Trailside Talk: Approaching Autumn There are a few magical moments that bring in the seasons of the Smokies. The first snowflake blowing across the shoulders of Mount Le Conte or Mount Guyot beckons winter. The tiniest wildflower signals spring is close behind. An afternoon thunderstorm rolling across the ridge freshens the Little River and declares that summer has arrived. And Read more...
  4. Trailside Talk: Great Bear Jams I Have Known

    Trailside Talk: Great Bear Jams I Have Known No one who visits the Smokies, particularly during the summer, should be surprised to encounter that long-time park phenomenon known as the bear jam. Someone spots a black bear along a park road. Brakes bring the car to a screeching halt. Sometimes the bear spotter pulls to the side of the road (if possible). Sometimes the driver will simply Read more...
  5. Trailside Talk: The Perfect Smokies Day

    Trailside Talk: The Perfect Smokies Day Get ready, Cades Cove! On the alert, Laurel Falls! Look out, Alum Cave! Sugarlands, here they come!  Over the next several months, the Great Smokies face the year’s biggest season of visitation as schools dismiss students for the summer and hundreds of thousands of workers target mountain trips for their annual vacations. From one- Read more...
  6. 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...
  7. 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...
  8. 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...
  9. 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...
  10. 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...

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