Tow String Trail

September 15, 2019 After camping at Spruce Mountain, I decided to grab another trail before heading back to Boone. One place I had not been to was the Tow String Trail. Sometimes referred to as the Tow String Horse Trail, it runs from Tow String Road to the Bradley Fork Trail near Smokemont Campground. The … More Tow String Trail

Spruce Mountain Trail

September 14-15, 2019 Looking at the Great Smoky Mountains National Park (Smoky’s) map, Spruce Mountain Trail is intriguing. It is a 1.2 mile, in-and-out hiking destination located off a one-lane Balsam Mountain Road. Campsite #42 is the terminus of the trail. My desire to hike and camp here is because of this solitude, as it … More Spruce Mountain Trail

Bradley Fork Trail, Hyatt Ridge Trail, Dry Sluice Gap Trail

June 13-15, 2019 Blog writing has always appealed to the chronicling portion of my mind (mileage and events). Part of it is a way to remember the trail in a logical manner. The purpose of this space was two-fold: write down a map for my kids to see what I accomplished and encourage others to … More Bradley Fork Trail, Hyatt Ridge Trail, Dry Sluice Gap Trail

Hemphill Bald Trail

July 28-29, 2018 Johnny and I have a tradition that we will go camping/backpacking at least once a month. For July, we chose the 13-mile Hemphill Bald Loop in the North Carolina section of the Great Smoky Mountain National Park (GSMNP). The loop and this area of the GSMNP is fascinating: giant poplars, abundant wildlife, … More Hemphill Bald Trail

Big Creek Trail, Swallow Fork Trail, Baxter Creek Trail

May 28, 2017 “There are no words that can tell the hidden spirit of the wilderness, that can reveal its mystery, its melancholy and its charm.” – Theodore Roosevelt When I was very young, I heard people talk about the Smoky’s in terms that is usually reserved for far-distant destinations of allure and mystery. When … More Big Creek Trail, Swallow Fork Trail, Baxter Creek Trail

Porters Creek Trail

February 4-5, 2017 “It is one of the blessings of wilderness life that it shows us how few things we need in order to be perfectly happy.” -Horace Kephart I’m often amazed at the reluctance of some to go camping. “What about _______ [insert any deathly fear, i.e. bears, snakes]?” they will ask.  “Aren’t you … More Porters Creek Trail

Cooper Creek Trail

November 27, 2016 Hiking all the trails for a particular area can take one to obscure places they would normally not even think about visiting. Cooper Creek Trail is located on a sliver of North Carolina, abutted on three sides by different jurisdictions: the Cherokee Indian Reservation, N.C., and the National Park. The trail is … More Cooper Creek Trail

Mt. Sequoyah, Mt. Chapman

November 18-20, 2016 It’s late fall and the temperatures have felt more like mid-summer rather than the cusp of winter. It has been nearly 70 days since any measurable rainfall in Western North Carolina, wildfires are popping up over the region. Most started by deranged pyromaniacs/attention seekers, but the bone dry conditions act like vat of gasoline. … More Mt. Sequoyah, Mt. Chapman