These pages are to document my plan to hike all 900+ miles of trails in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park.
I'm starting this blog in Dec. 2009 so first I'll list the trails hiked since I moved to Tennessee in 1999 til now. Our family did lots of short hikes and partial trails during that time, but I've only listed completed trails below.
1. Spring, 2000. Jesse was a Tiger Cub Scout and our Pack did the Rich Mountain loop in Cades Cove. I was impressed that Jesse (who was only 7) was able to hike the whole thing! Total mileage hiked: 8.7
2. July, 2002 (I think). Solo hike of the Appalachian Trail from Newfound Gap to Fontana Dam. I did this over the course of 4 or 5 days. Sarah (and the kids and her friend and her friend's child) had to drive over Deal's Gap (affectionately known as the Tail of the Dragon - 318 curves in 11 miles) to come get me. Jesse puked in the back of the van... Total mileage hiked: 35
3. December, 2004. Ed Lickey and I hiked a loop consisting of Big Creek Trail - Gunter Fork Trail - Laurel Gap Shelter - Mt Sterling Ridge Trail - Baxter Creek Trail. It was a beautiful weekend and relatively warm for December. I remember lots of creek crossings - we finally ended up hiking a big chunk of the trail in our boxer shorts and sandals to avoid having to keep taking off our boots and pants every time we had to cross a creek... I also remember the guys we shared the shelter with had fried spam for breakfast, and that we saw some of the biggest trees I've ever seen in the Smokies along the Baxter Creek Trail. Total mileage hiked: 22.5
4. April, 2005. As a volunteer leader with the Annual Wildflower Pilgrimage I've led walks from Cades Cove to Abrams Falls on numerous occasions. This is a beautiful hike in the spring when the wildflowers are out. This is one of the places in the park where one can find gaywings (Polygala pauciflora). Total mileage hiked: 5
5. Fall, 2005. Abrams Creek Campground - Campsite 17 - Abrams Falls. This was Jesse's first real backpacking trip. It's a short hike (around 2.5 miles) and a great campsite near Abrams Creek. The next day we left our packs at the campsite (safely suspended on the bear cables) and day-hiked up to Abrams Falls, then returned to pick up our stuff and back to the campground. I recently redid this hike with our Boy Scout Troop in December 2009. Low temperatures in the 20s... Brr! Total mileage hiked: 10
6. Fall, 2007. Schoolhouse Gap Trail to West Prong Trail to Campsite 18 to Bote Mountain Trail to Finley Cane Trail to Turkeypen Ridge Trail to Schoolhouse Gap Trail loop. Jesse and I did this together. It was a nice campsite - right along the creek. I remember going to bed REALLY early because it was dark and cold and we couldn't get much of a fire going. Total mileage hiked: 9
7. April, 2008. Again with the Annual Wildflower Pilgrimage I've hiked the Deep Creek Trail from Newfound Gap Road to Deep Creek a couple of times. These have been with my good friends Joey and Ed and a passel of "pilgrims" - it's a fun hike (all downhill), but a long day. Total mileage hiked: 14.2
8. Fall, 2008. Middle Prong Trail to Lynn Camp Prong Trail to Miry Ridge Trail to Panther Creek Trail to Middle Prong Trail. Spent the night at Campsite 28. There were several other people at the campsite, and dire warnings about bear activity, but it's a large campsite with several spots and I found a nice, cozy spot away from everyone else and never saw a bear. It's a nice loop. Total mileage hiked: 13.9
9. March, 2009. Chimney Tops Trail. We had been wanting to hike this trail for a long time, but hadn't found the time. So - when Sarah and I spent the weekend in Townsend for our 20th anniversary we decided to go for it. While it's a short hike, it's almost entirely UPhill and pretty steep. The rock outcrop at the end was well worth it though. I climbed to the top while Sarah sat at the bottom and averted her eyes, sure that I was going to plunge to my death... Total mileage hiked: 4