Friday, July 31, 2009

Cades Cove Loop to be closed for rehab for 10 weeks

According to the Great Smoky Mountains Association Newsletter that was just delivered to my email in-box, the Cades Cove Loop Road is scheduled to be closed for rehab for 10 weeks in 2010.

The road repair is scheduled to begin on or about March 1, 2010, and will conclude on or about May 15.

During this time, the loop road will be closed to the public. Access beyond the gates will be prohibited. The campground, store and horse concession will continue to remain in operation.

The newsletter is not posted on their website yet.

You can click here for some background information on the project.





Jeff
HikingintheSmokys.com

Wilderness First Aid offered in Henderson County

Yesterday I mentioned that the Asheville-Mountain Area Chapter of the American Red Cross is offering Wilderness First Aid training later this month.

I just found out through the Carolina Mountain Club that the American Red Cross of Henderson County will also be offering a Wilderness First Aid class next week, from August 7 through August 9. The class will be Friday night, all day Saturday and half a day on Sunday.

The class covers assessment and urgent first aid techniques, but not in-depth CPR.

You can sign up online at www.hcredcross.org or call the office with a credit card at 693-5605. The organization would like for people to sign up as soon as possible so that they will know that they will have a viable class (they need at least 6-8 people to make the class work logistically). Please see the flyer (PDF) with all the details or you can contact: Cindy McJunkin.

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For a limited time, Amazon.com is offering an opportunity to receive a FREE National Parks and Federal Recreational Lands Pass. Go to Amazon’s new Outdoor Recreation Store for more details.
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Jeff
HikingintheSmokys.com

Appalachian Trail Conservancy Report from CMC

Several members of the Carolina Mountain Club made the trip to Vermont a couple of weeks ago to attend the biennial meeting of the Appalachian Trail Conservancy. Yesterday the club posted a report from several members who attended. You can read highlights and their take on the conference by clicking here.

Jeff
HikingintheSmokys.com

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Red Cross offering wilderness first aid training

The American Red Cross is offering Wilderness First Aid training for those who work, live or play in remote areas where usual EMS service is not immediately available.

The training will cover assessment and urgent first aid techniques, treatment of wounds, head and spinal injuries, extremity injuries, types of delayed help situations, and more.

The two-day class will be from 9 a.m.-5 p.m. on August 20 and 21, meeting the first day at the Asheville-Mountain Area Chapter, 100 Edgewood Road in North Asheville. Cost is $90. Reservations are required.

For more information or to register, call 258-3888, Ext. 207 or visit www.redcrosswnc.org.


Jeff
HikingintheSmokys.com

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Smoky Mountains Trivia Quiz: Level 2

About a week and a half ago I published a Smoky Mountains Trivia Quiz. A regular reader of this blog, The Juggler, was kind enough to post a link on the Knox News GoSmokies site. Several readers commented that they enjoyed taking the quiz, but most said that it was too easy.

I took that as a challenge!

So, I created a brand new quiz. I think you’ll find this one to be a little, or even much more challenging - depending on your Smokies knowledge. You can find the answers below. Let me know how you guys did.

Without further adieu:

1) Which trail was named as the 9th most dangerous trail in America by Backpacker Magazine?
a) Alum Cave Trail to Mt. LeConte
b) Abrams Falls
c) Ramsay Cascades Trail

2) Roughly how many couples get married each year in the Smokies?
a) 100
b) 250
c) 350

3) What was the single largest gift of property from a private donor in Great Smoky Mountains history?
a) Purchase Knob
b) The Caldwell Family Farm
c) The Yellow Face Tract from the Cherokee Indian Reservation

4) Which animal was not reintroduced to the park?
a) coyote
b) otter
c) red wolf

5) Who was the first park naturalist?
a) Starker Leopold
b) J. Ross Eakin
c) Arthur Stupka

6) What is the location of the only Fire Watcher’s cabin still standing today?
a) Shuckstack
b) High Rocks on Welch Ridge
c) Spruce Mountain

7) In 1963 the woolly adelgid first appeared in the Smokies. Where was it first detected?
a) Mt. Guyot
b) Mt. Sterling
c) Greenbrier Pinnacle

8) Known as the “Horseshoe”, what is the location of the place known for excellent fly-fishing, as well as getting hikers lost?
a) Deep Creek
b) Big Creek
c) Abrams Creek

9) What year was the Smoky Mountains Hiking Club established?
a) 1924
b) 1934
c) 1940

10) What company got its start out of Alum Cave in 1838?
a) Epsom Salts Company
b) Reynolds Aluminum Company
c) Alcoa

11) What is considered to be the peak forest fire season in the Smokies?
a) July - Sept
b) Feb - Apr
c) Aug - Oct

12) What year was the first time annual visitation exceeded 1 million?
a) 1941
b) 1947
c) 1952

13) How did Elkmont get its name?
a) The large elk herd that roamed this region before the logging companies
b) Early settlers who emigrated from Elk Mountain, PA
c) The Knoxville Elks Club

14) Who built the cabin atop Mt. LeConte in 1925 which became the LeConte Lodge?
a) Paul Fink
b) Jack Huff
c) Paul Adams

15) The very first hike of the Smoky Mountains Hiking Club, led by Dutch Roth, went to?
a) Rocky Top
b) Mt. LeConte
c) Gregory Bald


Answers:

1) b) Abrams Falls - The magazine ranked this trail as the 9th most dangerous trail in the country as a result of high exposure to drowning and hypothermia hazards. The article cited 29 deaths on the trail since 1971 as a result of water related accidents.

2) c) 350

3) a) Purchase Knob – Many people think this piece of land was purchased - due to the name, but was actually given as a gift by Kathryn McNeil and Voit Gilmore in 2000

4) a) coyote

5) c) Arthur Stupka

6) b) High Rocks on Welch Ridge

7) b) Mt. Sterling

8) c) Abrams Creek – about half-way between Abrams Falls and the trailhead

9) a) 1924

10) a) Epsom Salts Company

11) b) Feb - Apr

12) a) 1941

13) c) The Knoxville Elks Club

14) c) Paul Adams – Jack Huff took over operations the following year

15) b) Mt. LeConte



Jeff
HikingintheSmokys.com

Saturday, July 25, 2009

75 Hikes on the 75th: August Schedule

As part of the year-long celebration of the 75th anniversary of Great Smoky Mountains National Park, Jerry Span from the Fontana Hiking Club has organized a program called “75 Hikes on the 75th”. As the name would imply, there will be 75 organized hikes in the Smoky Mountains throughout 2009.

Hikers are invited to hike one, some, or all the hikes on the calendar.

Below are the eight hikes scheduled for August:

Aug 1. Thomas Divide / Kanati Fork

Aug 1. Mingus Creek

Aug 8. Low Gap II / Low Gap I / Big Creek / Camel Gap / AT Camel Gap to Low Gap / Low Gap II

Aug 9. AT from Clingmans Dome to Greenbrier / Coldspring Knob / Miry Ridge / Jakes Creek

Aug 15. Baskins Creek / Graveyard Ridge

Aug 22. AT / Sugarlands Mtn

Aug 23. Lead Cove / Bote Mtn / AT from Spence Field to Greenbrier / Middle Prong

Aug 29. AT from Newfound Gap / Boulevard / Alum Cave

For more information on these hikes, please email organizer Jerry Span at jerry.span@fontanavillage.com or phone: 828-498-2122.





Jeff
HikingintheSmokys.com Detailed information on trails in the Smoky Mountains; includes trail descriptions, key features, pictures, video, maps, elevation profiles, news, and more.

Smoky Mountain Day Hikers Store Quality gear and apparel from some of the best outdoor brands.

Friday, July 24, 2009

The American Chestnut: Restoring Forest Majesty

The American Chestnut: Restoring Forest Majesty, is the final in a series of seminars being held at Shenandoah National Park this year.

The American chestnut once graced eastern forests in grand splendor. This mighty giant all but disappeared last century as a result of a fungus introduced from Asia. It’s estimated that the total number of chestnut trees in eastern North America was over three billion, and that 25 percent of the trees in the Appalachian Mountains were American chestnut. Very few large trees remain today.

The seminar at Shenandoah will give you an opportunity to meet with scientists, researchers, and park rangers to learn about the historical profile and current status of the American chestnut. Explore the cause of the chestnut blight and on-going genetic research. Learn about the chestnut breeding program and the steps The American Chestnut Foundation is taking to re-establish this majestic tree. The seminar will include field study and hands-on activities.

The seminar will be held Saturday, August 22, and will be held rain or shine. There’s a $30 registration fee, with space limited to just 20 people.

Please click here for more information.




Jeff
HikingintheSmokys.com Detailed information on trails in the Smoky Mountains; includes trail descriptions, key features, pictures, video, maps, elevation profiles, news, and more.

Smoky Mountain Day Hikers Store Quality gear and apparel from some of the best outdoor brands.

Monday, July 20, 2009

Are national parks no longer for the people?

Kurt Repanshek over at the National Parks Traveler published a thoughtful article yesterday asking a couple of provoking questions: Are national parks no longer for the people? Have environmental groups succeeded in legally creating roadblocks to prevent their enjoyment?

Mr. Repanshek posed these questions to his readers after reading a response to a New York Times column. The gentleman responding to the NY Times article basically concluded that; "Our parks are becoming museums, roped off expanses with 'Don't touch' or 'People stay out' signs all over them"

You can read Kurt's full blog posting by clicking here.


Jeff
HikingintheSmokys.com

Smoky Mountain Day Hikers Store

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Great Smokies Trivia Quiz: The Answers

Here are the answers from yesterday’s trivia questions:

1. What name did the Cherokee Indians give to the Smoky Mountains?
a) “Place of Blue Smoke”

2. Roughly how many people visit the Smoky Mountains each year?
b) 9 million

3. High elevation balds such as Gregory Bald and Spence Field were used by early settlers for:
a) Grazing cattle

4. In what year was Great Smoky Mountains National Park established?
a) 1934

5. Roughly how many species of living organisms are there in Great Smoky Mountains National Park?
c) 100,000

6. What is the most visited area of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park?
a) Cades Cove

7. Which U.S. president dedicated the Great Smoky Mountains National Park in 1940?
b) Franklin D. Roosevelt

8. Based on last count, roughly how many black bears live inside the Park?
b) 1800

9. What was Gatlinburg’s original name?
c) White Oak Flats

10. What is the nickname for Lakeview Drive, the 6-mile scenic drive that ends at the mouth of a tunnel near Fontana Lake called?
a) Road to Nowhere

11. Roughly how many miles of hiking trails lie within the Great Smoky Mountains National Park?
c) 850

12. The Park’s high elevation heath balds are treeless expanses where dense thickets of shrubs such as mountain laurel, rhododendron, and sand myrtle grow. Which one of these terms was not used by early settlers to describe these balds:
b) gaps

13. How many different species of flowering plants grow in the Smokies?
c) 1600

14. Which mountain in the Smokies did the Appalachian Trail originally traverse before the trail was re-routed?
a) Gregory Bald

15. Fodderstack is the original name for which famous point in the Smokies?
a) Charlies Bunion

Well, how did you do? Did you find the questions challenging, too easy or too hard? Let me know how many you were able to answer correctly....


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Amazon.com is currently offering visitors to their new Outdoor Recreation Store the opportunity to receive a FREE National Parks and Federal Recreational Lands Pass - an $80 value!

To visit the new store, click here: Outdoor Recreation Store


Jeff
HikingintheSmokys.com

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Great Smokies Trivia Quiz

The following is a semi-challenging list of Smoky Mountain trivia questions. Actually, people intimately familiar with the Smokies will probably find most of these questions to be fairly easy. However, there are a couple questions that may trip up even some of the most knowledgeable Smoky Mountain history buffs. Answers will be posted on this blog tomorrow. If you can’t wait until tomorrow, or if you’re looking for some clues, my web site, HikingintheSmokys.com, will provide answers for several of these questions – if you know where to look.

1. What name did the Cherokee Indians give to the Smoky Mountains?
a) “Place of Blue Smoke”
b) “Land of the Green Hills”
c) “Misty Mountains”

2. Roughly how many people visit the Smoky Mountains each year?
a) 5 million
b) 9 million
c) 13 million

3. High elevation balds such as Gregory Bald and Spence Field were used by early settlers for:
a) Grazing cattle
b) Hunting bears
c) Growing blueberries

4. In what year was Great Smoky Mountains National Park established?
a) 1934
b) 1940
c) 1927

5. Roughly how many species of living organisms are there in Great Smoky Mountains National Park?
a) 25,000
b) 75,000
c) 100,000

6. What is the most visited area of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park?
a) Cades Cove
b) Clingmans Dome
c) Newfound Gap

7. Which U.S. president dedicated the Great Smoky Mountains National Park in 1940?
a) Herbert Hoover
b) Franklin D. Roosevelt
c) Harry Truman

8. Based on last count, roughly how many black bears live inside the Park?
a) 1200
b) 1800
c) 2100

9. What was Gatlinburg’s original name?
a) Sugarlands
b) Oakley
c) White Oak Flats

10. What is the nickname for Lakeview Drive, the 6-mile scenic drive that ends at the mouth of a tunnel near Fontana Lake called?
a) Road to Nowhere
b) Dead-End Tunnel Road
c) The Big Dig South

11. Roughly how many miles of hiking trails lie within the Great Smoky Mountains National Park?
a) 500
b) 650
c) 850

12. The Park’s high elevation heath balds are treeless expanses where dense thickets of shrubs such as mountain laurel, rhododendron, and sand myrtle grow. Which one of these terms was not used by early settlers to describe these balds:
a) laurel slicks
b) gaps
c) hells

13. How many different species of flowering plants grow in the Smokies?
a) 300
b) 800
c) 1600

14. Which mountain in the Smokies did the Appalachian Trail originally traverse before the trail was re-routed?
a) Gregory Bald
b) Mt. LeConte
c) Mt. Sterling

15. Fodderstack is the original name for which famous point in the Smokies?
a) Charlies Bunion
b) Chimney Tops
c) Mt. Cammerer


Jeff
HikingintheSmokys.com Detailed information on trails in the Smoky Mountains; includes trail descriptions, key features, pictures, video, maps, elevation profiles, news, and more.

Smoky Mountain Cabin Rentals

Friday, July 17, 2009

Video: Black Bear Cubs

Black Bear Cubs on the Blue Ridge Parkway:




Jeff
HikingintheSmokys.com Detailed information on trails in the Smoky Mountains; includes trail descriptions, key features, pictures, video, maps, elevation profiles, news, hiking gear store, and more.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

American Trails Survey

American Trails, the only national, nonprofit organization working on behalf of all trail interests, would like your opinion. They are asking all trail users and trail professionals to take a few minutes to complete an anonymous survey. If you fall under both categories, they invite you to take both surveys. Each will take only 5-10 minutes of your time. Your responses will help guide the organization in better serving the needs of America's trails community and ensuring a brighter future for trails and greenways.

To thank you for your time, you’ll have an opportunity to enter your name in a drawing to win an America the Beautiful Annual Pass to National Parks and Federal Recreational Lands (one winner per survey). The annual pass covers entrance fees or standard amenity fees at sites managed by the National Park Service, USDA Forest Service, Bureau of Land Management, US Fish and Wildlife Service, and the Bureau of Reclamation.

To access the surveys, please click here.


Visit Amazon.com's brand new Outdoor Recreation Store.


Jeff
HikingintheSmokys.com

Canon Photography in the Parks Photo Contest

This is your chance to win a trip to the National Park of your choice (in the lower 48 states).

Canon U.S.A. is currently holding its fourth annual Canon Photography In The Parks Photo Contest. The contest invites photography enthusiasts, from now to September 30th, 2009, to enter by submitting their "Inspirational Nature Images," the theme for this year's contest. Photos taken at any park or monument in America can be entered through the Canon Digital Learning Center website. New this year, Canon will have two contest divisions for photographers between the ages of 13 and 17, and a separate division for adults ages 18 and older. This will enhance the contest experience by allowing aspiring teen photographers to compete amongst their peers.

After entering their photos through the Canon Digital Learning Center, potential contest winners will have the opportunity to forward an e-postcard of their submitted images to friends and family as a fun way to share their photographs. Winning photographers from the contest will receive some of Canon's hottest photographic equipment. In addition to new camera equipment, the Grand Prize winner will also receive a trip to a National Park.

Also, a team of photographers is currently touring four National Parks from June through August. At each park, the Canon team is hosting free photography workshops and is providing Canon's top-of-the-line camera equipment for participants to use at no charge. Each class will teach various photography techniques and explore many of the camera functions as participants take a walking tour of the park. Click here for details and a schedule of workshops.








Jeff
HikingintheSmokys.com Detailed information on trails in the Smoky Mountains; includes trail descriptions, key features, pictures, video, maps, elevation profiles, news, hiking gear store, and more.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Amazon.com Launches Outdoor Recreation Store

Amazon.com today announced the launch of its Outdoor Recreation Store – a single shopping destination offering thousands of outdoor gear and apparel items from top-tier brands. Amazon.com’s growing selection is complemented by offerings available from leading outdoor merchants, including Altrec, Backcountry and Mountain Gear, and FREE Super Saver Shipping offers on thousands of eligible items.

Shop for tents, backpacks, sleeping bags, apparel, gear essentials, snow sports, paddling sports, active travel and climbing.

Amazon is currently running two introductory offers you might be interested in:

> Enjoy savings of up to 40% and get FREE Super Saver Shipping on hundreds of styles of spring and summer apparel from top brands sold by Amazon.com.

> Beginning today for a limited time only and while supplies last, Amazon.com is offering visitors to Amazon’s Outdoor Recreation Store the opportunity to receive a FREE National Parks and Federal Recreational Lands Pass with qualifying purchases of $299 or more on select merchandise - an $80 value!

The annual pass covers entrance fees or standard amenity fees at sites managed by the National Park Service, USDA Forest Service, Bureau of Land Management, US Fish and Wildlife Service, and the Bureau of Reclamation.

To visit the new store, click here: Outdoor Recreation Store


Jeff
HikingintheSmokys.com

Monday, July 13, 2009

Grandfather Mountain closes several trails due to bears

Well, it looks like the Great Smoky Mountains isn't the only park experiencing bear issues this year. An announcement on the Grandfather Mountain State Park website is stating that several trails had to be closed, until further notice, due to bear activity.

The statement reads as follows:

"The Grandfather Extension Trail, the Black Rock Trail and the Grandfather Trail from the Swinging Bridge to MacRae Peak are closed due to increased bear activity. Bears, including a mother bear with cubs, have been seen in this area. NC Park Rangers are also discouraging hikers from accessing Grandfather from the parking areas at the Profile Trail and the Daniel Boone Scout Trail."


Jeff
Smoky Mountain Day Hikers Store Quality gear and apparel from some of the best outdoor brands.

Sunday, July 12, 2009

1st Annual Discover Biodiversity at LeConte Lodge

Discover Life in America (DLIA), the non-profit organization coordinating the All Taxa Biodiversity Inventory (ATBI) in the Great Smoky Mountains, is sponsoring a guided overnight hike to Mt. LeConte on August 15 - 16.

The event will raise money for DLIA and the Smokies ATBI. Icluded in the package is a guided hike up the Alum Cave Trail, lunch on the trail, an evening sunset program at Cliff Top, a set of handmade DLIA notecards, and a night's stay at the LeConte Lodge which includes dinner and breakfast.

The trip is $295 per person. There will be shared sleeping arrangements at the Lodge; so bring a friend or you will definitely leave with a new one! Reservations are required and space is limited.

For more information, please click here (PDF), or call 865-430-4756 or email: heather@dlia.org

For more information on the Alum Cave Trail, please click here.


Jeff
HikingintheSmokys.com Detailed information on trails in the Smoky Mountains; includes trail descriptions, key features, pictures, video, maps, elevation profiles, news, and more.

Smoky Mountain Day Hikers Store Quality gear and apparel from some of the best outdoor brands.

Saturday, July 11, 2009

“Your Parks” video challenge

The National Park Foundation just announced their first “Your Parks” video challenge.

The grand prize winner will win an exclusive, all-expense paid trip for two to the national park of his/her choice, an Olympus PEN camera kit, and a Federal Recreation Lands Pass.

The National Park Foundation wants to know what America's National Parks mean to you. How do they inspire you? Why are they important? Why should we protect them?

You’ll need to submit your video, up to two minutes in length, between July 8th and September 14th, and then vote for your favorite (voting begins September 1st). Together fans voting online, along with the National Park Foundation and Olympus, will crown the winners.

There will also be 10 runner-up winners who will take home an Olympus Stylus Tough-8000 digital camera and a Federal Recreation Lands Pass.

For more information, please click here.


Jeff
HikingintheSmokys.com

Friday, July 10, 2009

Tennessee Trails sponsors Porters Creek Trail hike

The Tennessee Trails Association will sponsor a moderate 7.4-mile hike tomorrow (Saturday) on the Porter Creek Trail in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. Interested hikers can meet at 9:30 a.m. at the trailhead. For more information, call 865-548-6171.

For additional information on the Porters Creek Trail, including trail description, directions to the trailhead, elevaton profile and pictures, please click here.





Jeff
HikingintheSmokys.com

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Top 10 Waterfalls near Asheville's Blue Ridge Mountains

Readers of the popular online travel guide, RomanticAsheville.com, recently voted on what they consider to be the top 10 waterfalls in the Blue Ridge Mountains of North Carolina. Here's how the respondents voted:

1. Sliding Rock: Each summer, thousands of children and adults slip and slide down this favorite natural, 60-foot cascade down a sloping boulder in the Pisgah National Forest.

2. DuPont State Forest: A three-mile easy hike takes you to the base of three waterfalls: Hooker, Triple and the 150-foot High Falls.

3. Looking Glass Falls: One of the most visited waterfalls in North Carolina, it's located along U.S. 276 north of Brevard, near the Blue Ridge Parkway. You don't even have to get out of your car to see the 60-foot waterfall.

4. Graveyard Fields: This popular hiking area on the Blue Ridge Parkway features a loop trail that takes you to two waterfalls on the Yellowstone Prong. Second Falls is just 1/3 mile from the parking area.

5. Rainbow Falls: This spectacular 150-foot waterfall is located in the Nantahala National Forest. Access via a new hiking trail from Gorges State Park. A little up Horsepasture River, slide and swim at Turtleback Falls.

6. Linville Falls: Located on the Blue Ridge Parkway, Erwins View Trail is a moderate hike of 1.6 miles round trip with four overlooks, each revealing a different aspect of the Falls and Linville Gorge.

7. Upper Whitewater Falls: This is the highest waterfall east of the Rockies, plunging 411 feet and viewable via a short paved trail.

8. Hickory Nut Falls: This 404-foot waterfall at Chimney Rock Park was featured in the movie The Last of the Mohicans. Hickory Nut Falls is a perfect example of what geologists call a "hanging valley."

9. Crabtree Falls: This beautiful 70-foot waterfall, near Linville Falls, is accessed by a 2.5-mile loop hiking trail from the Blue Ridge Parkway.

10. Glen Falls: Near Highlands is this beautiful setting in the Nantahala National Forest, with two separate 70-foot drops on a 1.5-mile roundtrip hike. While in the Highlands area, walk behind Dry Falls or drive behind Bridal Veil Falls.

For more details on these waterfalls, plus others, as well as a few videos, please click here.


Jeff
HikingintheSmokys.com Detailed information on trails in the Smoky Mountains; includes trail descriptions, key features, pictures, video, maps, elevation profiles, news, and more.

Smoky Mountain Day Hikers Store Quality gear and apparel from some of the best outdoor brands.

More volunteer science field days offered in Smokies

A couple of weeks ago, the Great Smoky Mountains National Park announced a new program that allows people to volunteer to become a citizen scientist for a day.

Today, park officials announced three new events within the program scheduled to take place next week. They are:

Stream Splashin' Science
On Monday, July 13, high school students, recent grads, and their families will have an opportunity to join a Ranger in the streams of the Smokies to discover the critters that depend on them for their habitats. This project will include searching for macro-invertebrates within various streams to determine and compare the health of these streams. Volunteers will meet at 10:00 a.m. in front of the Sugarlands Visitor Center.

How Do I Become A Park Ranger?
On Tuesday, July 14, high school students, recent grads, and their families will have the opportunity to become a Ranger for the day. This program will give you an insider view into the lives of National Park Rangers. Participants will have a chance to experience the many job options that the National Park Service may offer, including learning how to use a blowdart for a wildlife work-up, sample life in a stream for water quality, set up a monitoring plot for forest health, identify native trees and exotic insects, and use topographic maps and GPS units.

Public Citizen Science Ash Tree Mapping
On Wednesday, July 15, the second of four Citizen Science for the 75th days is open to the public of any age. Participants will spend the day searching for ash trees in the lush eastern part of the park. The focus will be on learning how to identify ash and other common trees in the Smoky Mountains, read a topo map, and use a GPS unit in the field. Information collected will help NPS scientists develop a computer model to predict where ash trees grow so they can set up traps to capture the invasive Emerald Ash Borer. The Borer is not yet in the Park but is moving southward toward the Park through firewood transport. Monitoring ash and setting up traps to detect the insects will help protect ash trees for the future.

For more information on each of these programs, please click here.




Jeff
HikingintheSmokys.com

New Salamander Found in North Georgia Mountains

National Geographic is reporting that scientists have found a 2-inch-long salamander in a creek near a well-traveled road in northern Georgia.

The newly named patch-nosed salamander, the second smallest salamander in the United States, is the first new genus of a four-footed creature found in the U.S. in 50 years!

Of the approximately 560 salamanders in the world, 10 percent are found in Georgia's Appalachian Mountains.

As John Maerz of the University of Georgia is quoted in the article, "It makes you wonder, what else is out there?"


Jeff
HikingintheSmokys.com Detailed information on trails in the Smoky Mountains; includes trail descriptions, key features, pictures, video, maps, elevation profiles, news, and more.

Smoky Mountain Cabins Check out our new page for cabin and chalet listings in the Smokies!

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Book store expands

I just wanted to let everyone know that I recently reorganized the book listings in my online Amazon store and have added several more titles.

You can find all of the classic books about the Smoky Mountains such as Our Southern Highlanders by Horace Kephart, or Out Under the Sky of the Great Smokies by Harvey Broome.

Of course you can find a wide variety of guide books for the Smokies and the surrounding region. We have general travel guides, as well as the “bible” of hiking in the Smoky Mountains, also known as the “Brown Book”; Hiking Trails of the Smokies.

We also have several recent titles such as Sanctuary: Meditations From The Great Smoky Mountains National Park by Greg Johnson, Hiking North Carolina's Blue Ridge Heritage by Danny Bernstein, or Survive!: Essential Skills and Tactics to Get You Out of Anywhere – Alive, by Survivorman, Les Stroud.

There are countless other books that will appeal to hikers, travelers and lovers of the Great Smoky Mountains and the broader Southern Appalachian region.

The new format will make finding a book on a specific subject much easier than in the past.

In addition to some of the lowest prices on books and hiking gear, you’ll be receiving the same excellent customer service and support from Amazon.

You can visit the store by clicking here.

Thanks for your support!


Jeff
HikingintheSmokys.com

Several new bear warnings posted in Smokies

Based on this morning's update, there are now bear warnings at 9 backcountry campsites, 8 shelters and 5 trails in the Great Smoky Mountains. Additionally, there are still 4 backcountry campsites and 1 shelter that remain closed as a result of aggressive bear activity.

Here's the full list of warnings and closings from the GSMNP website:

Bear Warnings

• Backcountry Campsites 6, 21, 24, 29, 34, 35, 36, 37, 40
• Cosby Knob Shelter
• Double Spring Gap Shelter
• Icewater Spring Shelter
• Mollies Ridge Shelter
• Mt Collins Shelter
• Mt Le Conte Shelter
• Pecks Corner Shelter
• Tricorner Knob Shelter
• Abrams Falls Trail
• Crooked Arm Ridge Trail (lower portion)
• Laurel Falls Trail
• Little River Trail
• Trillium Gap Trail (Grotto Falls area)

Campsites Closed

• Backcountry Campsites 10, 15, 28, and 93
• Russell Field Shelter


Jeff
HikingintheSmokys.com Detailed information on trails in the Smoky Mountains; includes trail descriptions, key features, pictures, video, maps, elevation profiles, news, and more.

Smoky Mountain Cabins Check out our new page for cabin and chalet listings in the Smokies!

Monday, July 6, 2009

Training for a long hike

So, you have a big hike lined up in a couple of weeks. You’ve done your research, you know how many miles you’ll be hiking, and you know how much elevation you’ll be climbing that day. But are you really ready? There’s nothing worse than getting half-way through a hike and feeling like you’ve already gone 10 rounds with Mike Tyson.

You can avoid that feeling by doing a little training beforehand.

What’s considered a long hike for any individual is purely relative. Whether that distance is 5 miles, 10 miles, or an extreme day hike of 15 or more miles, being properly conditioned will make your hike a lot more enjoyable.

The best way to train for any sporting event is to train specifically for that event. In other words, if you want to hike a long distance trail, it’s best to get out on a trail to simulate the conditions of the big day. However, for many people, finding a trail to train on may not be convenient. Walking in your local neighborhood or in a park is an excellent alternative. I’ve trained for a handful of hikes up 14K foot peaks in Colorado by walking in my neighborhood here in Louisville, Ky. With mountaintops slightly higher than your average ant hill, I obviously wasn’t able to simulate the type of climbing I experienced in Colorado, but I was still able to sufficiently train my walking muscles.

Roughly six weeks prior to each of these hikes I created a schedule and began training in which my walking miles slowly increased.

Let’s say you have a goal at the end of the summer to make the 11 mile roundtrip hike to the summit of Mt. LeConte. You should probably start training roughly four weeks before the actual hike. This assumes you already have a minimal amount of conditioning. Obviously if you have no conditioning, or a lot, then this schedule would need to be altered accordingly.

During the first two weeks of training you could probably get away with walking just three days a week. During the first week, two of those walks should be at least 2-3 miles long, with the third walk being in the 4 to 5 mile range.

During the second week you should ratchet up your long day to around 6 or 7 miles. The other two days should consist of walks of at least 3 miles per day. If you’re going to be climbing any significant elevation on your hike, you should try to include as many hills into your routine as possible. The Alum Cave Trail to Mt. LeConte climbs 2763 feet. This would be considered a strenuous hike for almost anyone.

During week 3, you’ll probably want to add a fourth day of walking into your schedule. Your long walk day, which preferably should be 7 days from your big hike, should now be in the 8 to 9 mile range.

During the final week before your hike, you should still be walking on at least 2 or 3 days. Each of these walks should be in the 4 to 6 mile range. If you’re already on vacation, use the days leading up to your big hike to train on some shorter trails. Make sure you’re well rested though. At a minimum, the day before your big hike should be a rest day, meaning - no training on that day. You might even consider taking two days off prior to your hike. This way your leg muscles will be well rested and you’ll be ready to conquer your goal.

If this training schedule seems a little aggressive, add another week or two up front and make the increase in miles a little more gradual.

If you don’t like the idea of walking as often as I’m recommending, throw a little cross training in. Of course running is an excellent alternative. Cycling, treadmills and stair climbers also provide great cross-training/cardio workouts as well. However, you don’t want to rely solely on these exercises. You’ll still need to do a long walk at least once a week.

On the day of your hike make sure you take enough food and water with you to keep your fuel and hydration levels up. See my article about staying properly hydrated and beating the heat while hiking in the summer.

If you need some help with planning your hike, check out my hiking checklist and safety tips links.

A little preparation beforehand will go a long way on the day of your big hike. Your training will give you the confidence to persevere and you’ll feel much better when you arrive back at the trailhead. You may even have a little energy left in the reserve tank to celebrate your accomplishment after you return.





Jeff
HikingintheSmokys.com

Sunday, July 5, 2009

Start a fire with your cellphone

Here's a good skill to know for anyone that ventures into the wilderness. If you're ever in an emergency situation where you need to start a fire, but don't have any matches, you can use your cell phone to start one. This short video from Backpacker Magazine shows you how to do it:



Jeff
HikingintheSmokys.com Detailed information on trails in the Smoky Mountains; includes trail descriptions, key features, pictures, video, maps, elevation profiles, news, and more.

Smoky Mountain Day Hikers Store

Friday, July 3, 2009

Fish for free tomorrow in all North Carolina waters

The state of North Carolina is offering its annual free 4th of July fishing day again tomorrow.

From 12:01 a.m. - 11:59 p.m. both residents and non-residents can fish in any public water in the state, including coastal waters, without the purchase of a fishing license or trout privilege license.

For more information, please click here.


Jeff
HikingintheSmokys.com Detailed information on trails in the Smoky Mountains; includes trail descriptions, key features, pictures, video, maps, elevation profiles, news, and more.

Smoky Mountain Cabins Check out our new page for cabin and chalet listings in the Smokies!

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Oconaluftee Visitor Center to host book signing

Great Smoky Mountains National Park will be hosting author Danielle “Danny” Bernstein next Tuesday, July 7, at the Oconaluftee Visitor Center, near the Cherokee, NC entrance.

Bernstein has authored two books in recent years, including Hiking the Carolina Mountains, which she published in 2007.

Her most recent guide, Hiking North Carolina’s Blue Ridge Heritage, was published earlier this year. The book covers 66 of the best day hikes in the Blue Ridge National Heritage Area, an area which roughly encompasses the triangle from Pilot Mountain State Park to the Great Smoky Mountains National Park and down to Highlands on the Georgia border. The area was recently designated by Congress for its natural, cultural, historical and recreation attributes within the North Carolina Blue Ridge Mountains.

Bernstein will sign books and talk about hiking on the front porch of the visitor center from 10 a.m. until 1 pm.


Jeff
HikingintheSmokys.com

Smoky Mountain Day Hikers Store