Tag Archives: Tennessee

National Park Week

This is the last weekend of National Park Week, your last chance to visit one of our nation’s beautiful parks for FREE! Check out National Geographic’s Best Hikes in the Parks for some inspiration. If you live in the southeastern US, you can check out one of our favorite hikes in the Great Smoky Mountains. It made the top 20 list! I am reblogging our excursion below. Now get out and take a hike this weekend. Somewhere, anywhere….just get out there!

The Hike to Mount LeConte (Alum Cave Trail)

Wow. If you are looking for a great trail, here it is! This is definitely one of the most scenic trails in all of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. Fantastic–one of the best trails we’ve ever hiked. It was a strenuous hike and by the end of it our legs were about to completely give out…but it was totally worth it.

The trail is roughly a 10 mile round trip that can be completed in 6-8 hours (or less, if you’re really booking it…we did it in 5 excluding our hour break at the top). It encompasses an elevation gain of over 2,500 feet and boasts spectacular views, very steep ascents, narrow rock ledges, paths through both old growth forest and cove forest, and gorgeous views of the Alum Cave Creek and Styx Branch. At the summit, the trail ends near the LeConte Lodge which sits at an elevation of roughly 6,500 feet. We decided to take a break at the lodge before heading back down the mountain. And yes, the only way to get to the lodge is to hike up the mountain! It’s a pretty neat place (very primitive but absolutely a very nice place) and next time we will be making reservations to stay there overnight. All I can say is that if you like to hike and you don’t mind a work out, give this trail a try. You will not be disappointed!

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Fiery Gizzard Trail to Sycamore Falls

Today we hiked the portion of Fiery Gizzard trail that leads to Sycamore Falls.  You can see more of the complete trail here from when we hiked the whole darn thing last year ;o)

Love.this.trail.  Just love it.  It was finally cool enough to hike a bit without being overcome by heat stroke.  Lovely day…love my life…love my fam!  Enjoy.

Great Smoky Mountains: Chimney Tops Trail

Chimney Tops Trail:  this is another great trail in the park, and it’s a little less strenuous than the Alum Cave Trail that I talked about in my previous post.  This trail is a 4 mile round trip hike with an elevation gain of over 1,600 feet.  The name of the trail comes from the twin rock peaks to which the trail ascends.  The rock peaks shoot nearly straight up into the air, making for a very steep climb to see the view at the top.  Once you climb up to the peaks, you are rewarded with a 360 degree view of the surrounding mountains.  It’s gorgeous!  This was a nice short hike that offered beautiful scenery and astounding views of the mountains.

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Great Smoky Mountains: Alum Cave Trail to Mount LeConte

Wow.  If you are looking for a great trail, here it is!  This is definitely one of the most scenic trails in all of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park.  Fantastic–one of the best trails we’ve ever hiked.  It was a strenuous hike and by the end of it our legs were about to completely give out…but it was totally worth it.

The trail is roughly a 10 mile round trip that can be completed in 6-8 hours (or less, if you’re really booking it…we did it in 5 excluding our hour break at the top).  It encompasses an elevation gain of over 2,500 feet and boasts spectacular views, very steep ascents, narrow rock ledges, paths through both old growth forest and cove forest, and gorgeous views of the Alum Cave Creek and Styx Branch.  At the summit, the trail ends near the LeConte Lodge which sits at an elevation of roughly 6,500 feet.  We decided to take a break at the lodge before heading back down the mountain.  And yes, the only way to get to the lodge is to hike up the mountain!  It’s a pretty neat place (very primitive but absolutely a very nice place) and next time we will be making reservations to stay there overnight.  All I can say is that if you like to hike and you don’t mind a work out, give this trail a try.  You will not be disappointed!

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A 3 hour tour…a 3 hour tour (or why canoeing the Harpeth River in violent weather is fun)

Today we took our little man down the Harpeth River in a canoe. We’ve been down it before, prior to little man coming home, and it’s a great little trip…in nice weather, that is. What was supposed to be a short tour down the river turned into a long, wet cold afternoon in which we hid in a cave and waited for rescue :)   Yes, it’s true, but it wasn’t all that bad.  In fact, little man had a ball!  He loved getting caught in the storm and taking safety in the cave.  He thought it was pretty cool, and well, it wasn’t all bad.  You gotta love the south…those violent afternoon thunderstorms can build up out of nowhere and strike with a vengeance.  All in all, I’d have to say the trip turned out pretty awesome despite the minor detour!

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[getting ready for our departure]

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[row, row, row your boat...]

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[...gently down the stream]

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[merrily, merrily, merrily, merrily, life is but a dream]

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[now what's for lunch?!]

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[ummmm]

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[wuh-wo]

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[this is the point when we abandoned the boat and took cover under a bridge...]

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[and then we retreated into a cave once the storm turned a little scarier...and we saw the light at the end of the tunnel, both proverbially and literally]

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[last shot of the day--after someone graciously rescued returned us to our car, we all got to purchase some dry clothes...check out what his shirt says, lol!]

Caves Close to Prevent Bat Disease

NASHVILLE, Tenn. — Cavers may have to find some new spots for their sport, all to protect bats. Tennessee Wildlife officials have closed all caves located on their land for a year to help prevent the spread of a disease killing off bats.  A white fungus called white nose syndrome is killing off bats across the United States.  While it isn’t harmful to humans, state wildlife officials are closing off public access to caves where bats hibernate to help keep it from spreading.

full article can be found here

Favorite Photo(s) Friday

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{beautiful waterfall}

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{bottom of the waterfall}

These photos were taken in the summer of 2008 near Pocket Creek, TN shortly after we purchased our most recent camera. They are my absolute favorite waterfall pics of all time!

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This weekend we are taking River on his very first camping trip.  We will be watching daddy kayak and we’ll even be doing some whitewater action of our own (mama and the River monster, that is)  :).  The tent and sleeping bags are packed, the kayak is loaded and the backpack is all ready.  Pictures to come soon…

3 trails in one day…

and this was bound to happen:

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Today we explored several different areas of the South Cumberland Recreation Area, which is part of the Cumberland Plateau in Tennessee.  We’ve been hiking here for years, but today we actually took pictures :) .  We visited Suter Falls, Grundy Forest, and the natural bridge at Sewanee…all very easy, short hikes.

Suter Falls:

Suter Falls is my absolute favorite waterfall in all of Tennessee.  The hike is ridiculously easy and short, but it’s still my favorite spot.  I highly recommend it to anyone in the area, but try to visit after a good rain.  Usually, the water flow is better during the winter when it is generally wetter around here, but this year we were fortunate to have a wet spring. I think this is the first time we’ve made this trip in the spring and it was awesome!

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Grundy Forest:

The Grundy Forest day loop trail is another very easy hike that takes you into the Gizzard Cove.  The trail is beautiful and follows Fiery Gizzard creek.  This is a very kid-friendly hike that is convenient to get to and easy to hike.  Beautiful cascades and waterfalls are abundant and the foliage is usually pretty lush.  The shade provided by the trail makes it a good pick for a mid-summer hike.

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Sewanee Natural Bridge:

The natural bridge at Sewanee isn’t really a hike, but rather just a great spot to go and see.  If you are in the area, it’s definitely something quick and easy to visit.

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Wow, what a great day of hiking here in TN.  I’m so happy it’s been a wet and stormy spring because it makes for some amazing water falls and lush foliage.  We haven’t had a wet spring in years so I’m a bit giddy.  I wonder where we’ll end up next weekend…