Saturday, May 19, 2012

The Great Smokie Mountains

After the visit to lake Lure and Chimney Rock as a kid, my next sight of the mountains was crossing from Cherokee thru Newfound Gap to Gatlinburg, TN. Dad said ‘This is the Smokies’. I as about 6-7 years old. We were in the clouds, and I thought that was neat. I went wandering off up a path, you could hardly see your hand in front of your face, but suddenly there was something in my way, big and black. A Black Bear. Mama said I probably scared him as much as he scared me, but I doubt it.  At that time the AT was being developed more, and that path was actually part of the Appalachian Trail.
Great Smokie mts
In 2002 Sherry and I decided to attempt to hike the 70+ miles thru the Smokies. Starting at Fontana Dam, NC and for 10 days we were in the largest roadless area in the Eastern USA, ending at Cove Creek Gap.
The Smokies are a challenge to the AT Hiker. If you have a dog, it must be kenneled and shuttled around the Smokies, no dogs (except seeing-eye dogs)  allowed on the trail.  That is funny because for the first 30 miles, horses can share the trail (we were forced off the trail by a skittish horse and a young lady rider). You are allowed to tent camp, but only if the shelters are full.  At the time the shelters were fronted by chain link fencing to keep the bears out.
(This is similar to the shelters in the Smokies, except there the front was enclosed with chain link fencing)
In the Smokies there are two places you run into civilization, Clingman’s Dome and Newfound Gap. Both places backpackers are looked at as curious foreign objects, some of us smelled bad.
The trail pretty much follows the NC/TN state lines. The Smokies are about equally divided by the two states. Most of the time you do not know which state you are actually in.
The funniest thing that happened was at Newfound Gap. As you hike the food is bland and simple. You think of a Pepsi and crackers (etc). Not remembering what was at Newfound we were picturing some vending machines, after all it is the most visited spot on the East Coast, but we found none. I saw a man with a Monaco RV hat on, and asked if he knew where the vending machines were.
There are none, but we have some cold drinks in the car you can have.” Said the stranger.
No that’s okay, we will skip it.” I said reluctantly.
NO WE WANT!” came the noise from my side, “We will take them and be glad to pay for them!”
They gave us a couple COLD drinks and we thanked them. They would take no pay for them. The drinks were delicious!!!
More later.
Thanks for coming this way.
Nite Shipslog

Coca-Cola was originally green.
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1948 Chevrolet, that is about the year I was on the AT and the year of the first Thru Hiker:1948 Earl Shaffer, trail name Crazy One. He hiked from Georgia to Maine in one summer (referred to as a Thru-hike). We started as Thru hikers, but became ‘section hikers’.


Chatty Crone said...

You guys have lived more in your life time then ever! I am so proud and envious of you in a good way.
And I can't wait for the next installment.

You know there are good people out there - right? How sweet to give you cool drinks for free.


Ken Riches said...

RV'ers are usually pretty nice folks!

shirl72 said...

I remember you and Sherry on the
high mountain don't remember what
state I think close to Maine.
She said she didn't think she could
walk down and slid down on her
hinny. You said she prayed a beautiful prayer when whe reached
the bottom. I always thought that
was funny. The boy that wanted
to put his sleeping bag close to
you both and wanted to talk all

I have the video and letter while
you were walking explaining your ventures.I will have to get it out
and look at the year.

You are right we also have some beautiful North Carolina Mountains.

shirl72 said...

PS: That is the car that you left
Dad to drive while you and Sherry took his to the beach. Dad didn't
have the best of hearing. He
was sitting in front of the use to
be PO at stoplight. The car was going duma-dumma-dumma and the Police came up and said Doc do you know your Son had loud mufflers on this car. Dad said no I will take care of it when he returns from the beach. I think the Officer was
Setzer member of the Church.
You were saved again. hee hee

Anonymous said...

There are times(yeah, I know not always)when you get what you give. I am sure you & Shelly have done plenty of nice, considerate things for others during your you are getting some of that back. ~Mary

Paula said...

Laughing @ Shirl's comments.

betty said...

That is interesting about that part of the trail! Interesting especially about horses allowed for a bit of it but no dogs, but I'm sure it is because of the bears and safety, etc. I would have been like Sherry; I would have taken the drinks offered by the strangers (who knows, maybe they were angels :)

great story!


Anonymous said...

What an adventure you two live.

Please have a good Sunday you all.

Anonymous said...

What an adventure you two live.

Please have a good Sunday you all.

Louis la Vache said...

That '48 Chevy is the last of the pre-war bodied Chevies. The '49s got an all-new and much sleeker body. Those Chevy "stove bolt six" engines were bullet proof!

I'm mostly known as 'MA' said...

A trip like that would be unforgettable. I can't imagine staying in a shelter like that or a tent for that matter. I like my creature comforts too much I guess. Those drinks were probably the best you ever had. Hope you all have a wonderful Sunday. It looks like a beautiful day here. I'll be heading home a little later on today.


Interesting about the Appalachian Trail, the rules, the shelters, horses and dogs. BEARS scare me, alot. You were brave souls to venture into that adventure. Thank goodness there was a cool drink to be had, though. being stubborn won't quench your thirst, JACK. LOL People are generous at heart. take care.