Monday, September 1, 2014

Elkmont Then

I accidentally ran into this video a few days ago, which was put together by Mike Maples in early July. The video takes a look back in time at the Elkmont area during the logging and railroad days. There are a lot of great photos included here.... especially if you like train crashes!


Sunday, August 31, 2014

How Wolves Changed Rivers in Yellowstone National Park

This short video presents a very interesting look at how wolves changed the environment, in particular the rivers of Yellowstone National Park, after being reintroduced to the park after a nearly 70-year absence:


Thursday, August 28, 2014

Who was Grandma Gatewood?

In 1955, after raising 11 children, Emma "Grandma" Gatewood became the first woman to solo thru-hike the Appalachian Trail - at the tender age of 67!  In September of that year, having survived a rattlesnake strike, two hurricanes, and a run-in with gangsters from Harlem, she stood atop Maine’s Mount Katahdin.

Then, in 1960, she hiked it again, becoming the first person to hike the Appalachian Trail twice. And, just to prove those first two weren't a fluke, she hiked it again in 1963 - at the age of 75! After that third adventure Emma became the first person to hike the 2,179-mile trail on three different occasions.

So who exactly was Grandma Gatewood? This short video, a trailer from a documentary film project called "Trail Magic", gives a few insights into Emma Gatewood's life, tribulations & achievements:


Monday, August 25, 2014

Volunteers Needed for Big South Fork National Public Lands Day

Big South Fork National River and Recreation Area will be celebrating National Public Lands Day on Saturday, September 27, 2014. National Public Lands Day is the nation's largest, single-day volunteer event in which eight federal agencies as well as other groups partner together to maintain and protect the environment.

Anyone wishing to volunteer should be at Oscar Blevins Farm located off West Bandy Creek Loop Road by 9:00 a.m. ET. A safety briefing will be conducted prior to beginning work. Work will start at 9:00 a.m. and end by 2:00 p.m.. Volunteers are needed for trail clearing and trash pickup. Everyone should wear sturdy shoes and bring bug spray and drinking water.

More information can be found here, or you may call Effie Houston, Volunteer Coordinator, at (423) 569-9778.

Hiking in the Smokies

Saturday, August 23, 2014

One Man's Perspective on Solitude and Wilderness

Every couple of months 68-year-old Ed Zevely rides into the Colorado high country to camp for weeks at a time, and does it completely alone. Through thunderstorms, open meadows and treacherous passes, he finds his own patch of serenity. Ed provides an interesting perspective, perhaps one that all of us should consider as we go through life.

Open Door to Solitude from Filson on Vimeo.


Thursday, August 21, 2014

Big South Fork Offers Guided Hikes at Historic Rugby

Big South Fork National River and Recreation Area rangers invite everyone to join them on two very enjoyable walks in the park adjoining Historic Rugby. The Big South Fork, in partnership with Historic Rugby, is staffing a visitor contact station in the Board of Aid to Land Ownership building at Rugby this summer. In addition to providing information and orientation to Big South Fork visitors, rangers are providing guided hikes into the Big South Fork every Saturday and Sunday through the end of September.

The Meeting of the Waters hike on Saturday is a moderately difficult 2.3 mile loop. The trail begins by descending into the Clear Fork River gorge to the historic Gentlemen's Swimming Hole. It continues along the Clear Fork River to the Meeting of the Waters where the Clear Fork is joined by White Oak Creek. Along the way hikers can view some of the prettiest forest to be found on the Cumberland Plateau. From the Meeting of the Waters, the trail begins a short, steep climb back to the ridge top where it follows an easy path back to the trailhead. The entire hike takes about two and one half hours.

The Gentleman's Swimming Hole Trail hike on Sunday is a moderately difficult, .8 mile round trip into and out of the Clear Fork gorge to the swimming spot once favored by early Rugby colonists. This one hour walk provides a journey through a pretty hemlock and rhododendron forest and offers a chance to sit for a few minutes alongside the beautiful Clear Fork River. Both hikes begin at 1:00 p.m. (ET) from the Rugby Trailhead located next to the Laurel Dale Cemetery in Historic Rugby. Comfortable walking shoes are recommended.

For more information, call park headquarters at (423) 569-9778. You may reach the Big South Fork Rugby Contact Station at (423) 628-2991.


Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Townsend Fall Heritage Festival and Old Timers Day

Next month is the 22nd Annual Townsend Fall Heritage Festival and Old Timers Day event.

Highlights for this year's festival include bluegrass music, mountain music jam sessions, storytelling, family activities, crafts by local artisans, great food, and demonstrations of a variety of traditional skills such as basketry, quilting, weaving, sorghum molasses, apple butter making, apple cider, beekeeping, and blacksmithing.

The event will take place on Friday, September 26th and Saturday, September 27th at the Townsend Visitors Center. For more information, please click here.

If planning to attend the event, be sure to make plans to stay in Townsend. If you've never had the pleasure of staying in the Townsend area, also known as the “Quiet Side of the Smokies”, you may want to note that it's much easier getting in and out of the park, and is fairly close to Cades Cove. If you need a rental cabin during your visit, be sure to visit our Townsend Accommodations page.

Hiking in the Smokies