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Apr 28, 2014 - Great Smokey National Park

Today we arrived at Cades Cove Campground in the Great Smokey Mountains National Park. It was a long drive but a good one. After arriving there we met up with our ham radio friend Leon Priest (N4TFK). He had a site just for us. Right in the front and a padded slab to park the motorhome on. We had a great two day visit with him. Meeting the first night for a great fire and then the next night we went out to dinner in town at the local Mexican Restaurant. Was a great park. Loved the loop known as Cades Cove Loop. You will enjoy some of the...

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Apr 27, 2014 - The Smokies-Blue Ridge Pkwy

Well, as you all know, winter came a little farther south and lasted a couple of months longer than usual this year. This meant a late spring for many parts of the east, including the Appalachians. Several bosses have told me over the years; "If you're not early, you're LATE!" Well, guess what... in the wilds, when you're early, you're just EARLY. There are few things as disappointing as driving through an area where just about every tree and shrub explode with blossoms in the spring… and realizing you’re about a month ahead of Mother...

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Jan 20, 2014 - Mon. Jan. 20 - Haleakala

Haleakala means "house of the sun" in Hawaiian. Once again, pictures cannot capture the majesty of this area. We drove up a series of switchbacks to get to the 4000' elevation on our drive to the top of the volcano Haleakala and stopped at the first visitors' center. Historians believe the last eruption of this volcano was around 1790. They use two distinctly different maps done about 20 years apart (one about 1780 the other about 1800) and because a bay is filled in with lava by the 1800 map argue the volcano must have erupted between 1780...

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Oct 20, 2013 - Chimney Tops

Sunday morning, we woke up a bit later as it was starting to get light out, although still very cold. We had a more leisurely morning, eating breakfast and breaking camp, and finally leaving at around 930. We would be heading home, but not before getting in some good views of fall color. For this, we would need to go higher in elevation. Wanting to avoid traffic congestion in Gatlinburg, we took US-441 through the park and stopped at the trailhead for Chimney Tops, shortly before Newfound Gap. Since it was already a little later in the...

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Oct 19, 2013 - Cades Cove

We woke up very early Saturday morning, well before sunrise, to get an early start and hopefully beat some of the crowds. We were heading to Cades Cove, one of the most popular areas of the park, so it was sure to be packed on this nice autumn day. By leaving early, we hoped to miss most of the crowds and get to the parking lot while there were still spots available. From Elkmont, we turned left on Little River Road, which changes to Laurel Creek Road, and drove to Cades Cove. Here, we got on the Cades Cove Loop Road, another scenic one-way...

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Oct 21, 2012 - Boogerman Trail

Sunday morning, we woke up and packed up camp as soon as possible to get in a nice hike before heading back home. We moved our cars to the trailhead for Caldwell Fork & Boogerman Trails hiked across the first of many footbridges. Hiking on the Caldwell Fork Trail, we passed the first turn for Boogerman Trail. I had hiked this trail in March and two of the bridges were out requiring stream crossing and butt-sliding across a narrow log. But the park had replaced one bridge and stream crossing could be accomplished by walking across a very...

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Oct 20, 2012 - Enloe Falls Attempt

For our annual fall foliage trip this year, we stayed at the Cataloochee group campsites at Great Smoky Mountains National Park. Sandy and I left after work Friday night and arrived at the camp at around 10. We set up our tent and went to bed shortly afterwards. In the morning, we ate breakfast and drove through Cherokee towards the Oconaluftee visitor center, then took Big Cove Road into the park, where it becomes Straight Fork Road. We parked at the trailhead to Hyatt Ridge Trail and began our hike. The Hyatt Ridge Trail runs for about...

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Aug 22, 2012 - Smoky Mountains

August 22, 2012 - Arrived Great Smoky Mountains August 27-Did a five mile hike along the Old River Road in Elkmont. Water levels are low this year but still enjoyed a waterfall and the river. It was 76 degrees in the woods but town temperatures were in the high 80's today. We are staying at Cove Mountain RV Resort and have a great lot with awesome views.

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Aug 5, 2012 - Ramsey Cascade

After breaking camp, we headed to the Greenbrier area of Great Smoky Mountains National Park for one last waterfall before heading home. The road in is initially paved then turns to another scary gravel road for about 5 miles to the trailhead. The road includes a couple of narrow, one-lane bridges that made me a bit nervous, but we made it to the parking lot at the end. Starting out on the trail, a bridge crosses the river and the trail follows an old road bed for about a mile and a half. Although the trail has steady elevation gain, it is...

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Aug 4, 2012 - Rainbow Falls

From Wildwater, we headed towards Gatlinburg and into Great Smoky Mountains National Park. Turning left at stoplight #8, we followed Cherokee Orchard Road to the Rainbow Falls Trail parking area. Although less 2.5 miles in length, the trail has a steady uphill slope, starting from the beginning as it heads up Mount LeConte. For most of the way, the trail follows LeConte Creek, with the soothing sound of running water audible for nearly the entire trip. It had rained in Gatlinburg as we started, but died down to a light drizzle or less once...

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Aug 3, 2012 - To the Smokies

Finally, we made it back to paved roads and continued on I-40 just past the state line into Tennessee and to Great Smoky Mountains National Park. A storm had recently passed through, knocking down a tree on a small road leading to the park. Some men were out with chainsaws cutting the tree up and I tried to go around, but got stuck in the mud! Luckily, the men helped push me out and we continued to the park. Since no one else had arrived yet, Sandy and I headed to Cosby for dinner at Carver's Apple House. I had eaten here before and knew it...

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Mar 17, 2012 - First Camping Trip of the Year

This past weekend, I did my first camping trip for the year to knockout hikes #74 and 82 from the 100 classic hikes.. We left the Triangle area just after 7 and headed out west, arriving in the Cataloochee area of Great Smoky Mountains National Park around noon. We had lunch at the campground, then started on the Caldwell Fork Trail. After crossing the first bridge, we saw some hikers returning who warned us that bridges were out and we would have to wade through the river - but that wasn't going to stop us. We turned left on the Boogerman...

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