Tag: Winter

  1. 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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  2. Winter hiking tips

    Hiking in Winter at Appalachian Trail

    A Little Sluice of Heaven originated when Dana Murphy and I – on separate days, as it turns out – did the same hike only in different directions right around New Year’s Eve. She prefers uphill climbs, so she started at Kephart Prong just off U.S. 441 and climbed to the shelter. From there she took Grassy Branch to Dry Sluice, and that’s where things started to get icy. From the Dry Sluice intersection, it’s a rather gruelling 1.3-mile climb to the Appalachian Trail, which she followed past Charlies Bunion, ending up at Newfound Gap. The next day, I did the same, only in the opposite direction.

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  3. Food, Family, and Community: Celebrating Christmas in the Great Smoky Mountains

    Celebrating Christmas in the Great Smoky Mountains

    With the Christmas holiday approaching, I thought it only fitting to delve into the history of Christmas celebrations in the Great Smoky Mountains. Rather than consult our traditional archival collections, I decided to plumb the depths of the parks extensive oral history collection to learn how these mountain folk celebrated Christmas in the decades immediately before the establishment of the park. While some of these reminiscences reminded me of stories I’d heard growing up in Texas, others were certainly unique to Southern Appalachia, and some even prompted me to say “I had no idea.”

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