Great Smoky Mountains

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Wessy and the Oconaluftee River Trail

A trip to Oconaluftee is always fun. It's all about getting away and enjoying the lifestyle of the mountains. This area borders Cherokee, NC, home to the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians. A little history about this nation within a nation— "The Cherokee were hunters and gatherers, foraging the Great Smoky Mountains and the lowlands [...]

Andrews Bald Conquered!

Click on photo to enlarge. I read the reviews for this 3.6 mile hike to Andrews Bald, and everyone, who seemed much younger than me, wrote things like: "Such an easy hike." Then someone my age popped in and said. "Moderate." LOL! It really is moderate—not strenuous but certainly moderate. Why, the rocks [...]

Time spent at Boyd Mountain

I found the Boyd Mountain cabins outside of Maggie Valley (near Waynesville, NC) several years ago, but I only stayed here once. As I recall at the time, I was feeling very burned out and wanted to get away for a few days. I talked the owners into letting me bring Cocoa! They have a [...]

Oconaluftee and the Elk

If you go to Oconaluftee, you have to see the Elk. I keep seeing them but don't "see" the herds as much as the people, who live in the area. By that I mean, there's a whole group of people that follow the Elk (and now the eagles) around and report where they are at [...]

The Elk at the Oconaluftee Visitor Center

After I started following photographer Deborah Scannell and saw her photos of the Elk in the southern Appalachian mountains, I was convinced that I could capture a photo of them, too. Not as nicely done as her, of course, but still I could make an attempt. A couple of weeks ago, I did just that [...]

The Great Smoky Mountains

Welcome to my Friday after Thanksgiving! I have hiked parts of the Appalachian Trail (AT) for years but never long stretches. Mostly, I have backpacked and camped on Cumberland Island where the temps are mild and there are no bears! But I'm the first to admit there's a true mystery surround the AT and that [...]

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