So we're less than four weeks away from Christmas and you're still looking for some gift ideas, or maybe just trying to find a simple stocking stuffer for that outdoor lover in your life.
Let me offer a few ideas that would make any hiker or fan of the Great Smoky Mountains a happy camper on Christmas morning:
Where are the best places to hike and take pictures in the Smokies? You now have the option to take the latest technology with you into the park to guide you to the places you want to go. This summer Travel Photo Guides released its iPhone App for the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. The App offers the best places to hike, the best places to take pictures of beautiful vistas, rivers and waterfalls, and where to find wildflowers and wildlife. It even provides camera settings and GPS coordinates.
So maybe that hiker is a little old school. How about a couple of trail maps? National Geographic Trails Illustrated recently published two new maps for the Smokies: one for Western Smokies that includes Cades Cove and Elkmont, and the other for the Eastern Smokies that includes Clingmans Dome, Mt. Leconte and Cataloochee. The maps show much greater detail, including backcountry campsites, footbridges, fords and stream crossings, nature/interpretive trails, as well as detailed trail mileages.
Just last month a brand new collection of photos from Ansel Adams was published. The book is the most comprehensive collection of Ansel Adams' photographs of national parks and wilderness areas. It includes more than two hundred photographs - many rarely seen and some never before published.
How about two old classic board games with a new National Park twist? Check out the National Parks Edition of Monopoly or Yahtzee.
Although spring is still a few months away, the Great Smoky Mountains Association has an excellent wildflower field guide for the Smokies (one that I own myself). The book is packed with color photographs and explains how to identify wildflowers in the field. It also includes sections on suggested walks, hikes, and drives in the park as well.
Becoming Odyssa: Epic Adventures on the Appalachian Trail, is the brand new book from Jennifer Pharr Davis - the current female Appalachian Trail speed record holder. The new release chronicles her experiences during her first hike across the 2175-mile trail out of college.
Calendars also make for great stocking stuffers - and Amazon sells hundreds. For hikers, check out the Zen of Hiking or the Appalachian Trail wall calendars. How about the National Parks calendar, or the Blue Ridge Mountains wall calendars. The Ansel Adams calendar is always a popular choice as well.
And then of course there's always gift cards and gift certificates: Patagonia, Nantahala Outdoor Center, Backcountry.com and Amazon all offer gift cards or certificates in any amount you wish to purchase.
For more ideas, and a full list of book and maps related to the Great Smoky Mountains and the surrounding Southern Appalachian region, please visit the: Smoky Mountains Day Hikers Store