Tag Archives: Great Smoky Mountains National Park

REI #OptOutside sticker

#OptOutside on Nov. 23 (and other days, too)

Explore the outdoors as part of #OptOutside, a national movement started by REI in 2015. Rather than open its stores on Black Friday (Nov. 23), REI gives its employees a paid vacation day and encourages them — and the rest of us — to get outdoors.

LeConte Lodge cabin - photo by Julie Dodd

Joy of hiking to Mt. Le Conte

Time for one of the special treats of the year – hiking to Mt. Le Conte in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. After finding a parking space in the Alum Cave trailhead parking lot (which can be a challenge, as Alum Cave is a popular trail), we double-knot our hiking boots, adjust our hiking […]

painted trillium - photo by Julie Dodd

Hiking views in Great Smoky Mountains National Park

Hiking in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park is always uplifting and challenging. I was fortunate recently to spend almost two weeks in the Smokies. A highlight (literally) was hiking to Mt. Le Conte, the third highest peak the Smokies. At times we were hiking inside a cloud. Other times, the sky was clear and […]

Walking in woods

Opt Outside (#OptOutside) as often as you can to improve your health & outlook

Opt Outside (#OptOutside – promoted by REI for the Friday after Thanksgiving) and National Take a Hike Day (held each year on Nov. 17) are reminders to get outside and enjoy nature. Being outside and in nature should not be a slogan or campaign for just a few select days. That’s a worthy goal for […]

Wildfires sweep through GSMNP & Gatlinburg – loss of lives, property and wildlife

2016 is the 100th anniversary of the National Park Service. National Parks across the country have been celebrating and having record-setting attendance. The Great Smoky Mountains National Park has the distinction of being the most visited of the 59 national parks, with more than 10 million visitors annually. The second most visited park is the […]

Achieving GSMNP Hike 100 Challenge

I’ve accomplished the Hike 100 Challenge! I reached the 100th mile during a hike to Andrews Bald, near Clingman’s Dome, the highest peak in the Tennessee portion of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. Reds and yellows of trees and bushes provided color along the trail, and the bald was surrounded by mountains showing fall […]

Not only no screen savers but no screens in this one-room school house

This is the view from the back of Greenbrier School. You can see this is “back to basics” in its true sense — wooden benches and slant-top desks and windows for temperature control.