Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Hiking in Great Smoky Mountain National Park








Hiking in Great Smoky Mountain National Park



OK, so I had this idea. When we have some spare time, let's start hiking all the trails listed in the Hiking Trails of Haywood County North Carolina pamphlet. We have these pamphlets available for our guests at Brookside Mountain Mist Inn, our bed and breakfast in Waynesville, North Carolina. So this morning we had some time on our hands and decided to go into the Great Smoky Mountains National Park through the Cataloochee park entrance. Just at the entrance are two trail heads, one is 4.6 miles and the other 8.4 miles. But don't let that fool you! This is no stroll along the sidewalk. Be sure to have the right gear before you undertake these trails. The pamphlet states these trails are rated moderate in difficulty. Don't let that fool you either! It feels like you go uphill both directions on this trail. Is that possible?

Keep in mind, when they tell you the trail is 4.6 miles that just means to the end. Unless they tell you its a loop, you have to hoof it back another 4.6 miles. Yes! That's right! Just when you think you're going to drop from exhaustion, you have to hike back to where you started! Can I tell you how much my feet, calves and butt hurt from that hike?! I thought I was in shape. I thought I was ready. I was wrong!


We chose to go hiking today because it was the first break in the weather for the fall season, here in the Smoky Mountains of North Carolina. But when you start out in the lower elevations, its warmer. Don't let that fool you either! Bring a jacket, bring long johns, bring a scarf 'cause baby its cold in them there mountains! Once you get going, you do start to warm up a bit. And let me tell you, the views are well worth enduring the cold and the hike up the mountain. One minute you are walking among these huge trees and all you can smell is the sweet clean air around you. Next thing you know, you crest a mountain ridge and the scenery is right off of a postcard. What a humbling experience. It makes you feel small. It makes all your worries seem insignificant. It brings you peace.

We'll try to keep you up to date on our hiking trail adventures over the next few months. We are heading into our peak season at our bed and breakfast here in Waynesville, North Carolina, so I don't expect we'll be able to hit the trails as frequently as we'd like. Maybe we'll try the shorter hikes on our slower days. Maybe we should have started there to begin with!


Carolyn Gendreau & Dina Giunta
Brookside Mountain Mist Inn













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