Back-Country Trail Etiquette

When I plan my back country hikes, I do so with the hope of solitude. My idea of a hike is to enjoy nature and take in the beauty and majesty the Creator provided for us. Even though an estimated 11 million people visited Great Smoky Mountain National Park last season not everyone hiked.  The majority of hikers stick to the most popular trails….

The eyes can play tricks…

On Fridays, Grant and I wander up and down Laurel Falls Trail several times picking up litter, visiting with hikers, handing out information about bears and the park’s prohibition of pets on the trail. We also hand out an occasional band aid or bottle of water and are always available to radio for emergency assistance. Oh, and we always keep an eye out for…

A time for regrowth…

Grant, Brian and I skipped the dance competition in Knoxville Saturday and ventured, using a hike as an excuse. We had planned to hike Forney Ridge Trail out to Andrews Bald. Unfortunately weather and time didn’t cooperate. (It was imperative that we make it to Smoky’s ballpark in time for the light sabre give away.) With a heavy overcast we decided on Old Sugarland’s…

Black and White

I was first introduced to serious photography back in the 70’s when I took Intro to Photography my freshman year in college. This was well before the age of digital cameras. I found myself shooting a whole roll of film, then waiting patiently in the darkroom as the developer and fixer worked their miracle. Then I could get a glimpse of my work in…

Mountain solitude…

I have taken on a new volunteer experience this summer by adopting a backcountry campsite. This is in addition to patrolling Laurel Falls each Friday. I or should I say we (grandkids and parents) are cleaning and maintaining campsite #27 for the foreseeable future. I thought maybe it would be a good idea if I did a preliminary recon mission before taking the family….

Weekend Hike…

Weekends are always great times to hike, but springtime, holiday weekends just scream for a walk in the park. Even better when you can bring along family. This time my two grandsons and son-in-law accompanied me on this adventure. We found a perfect rugged seldom used waterfall hike. It didn’t take long for me to realize that on this hike, I would be the…

Wildflowers…

It’s springtime in the mountains. That means the bears are coming out of their winter’s hibernation. Mother bears will be introducing their new cubs any day now. With an estimated 1,600 bears in the National Park you would think that one or two would photo bomb you just about every time you pulled out your camera. Sadly that’s not the case. But that doesn’t…

Trials on the Trails

Always be prepared for the unexpected.  I never go anywhere without at least one camera because you never know when you are going to get that perfect shot.  I took this shot a couple of years ago on Laurel Falls Trail. The bear had been foraging above the trail and was communicating that it wanted to cross to the other side of the trail. I…