I’ve been in Smoky Mountain National Park, TN for the past week camping and scouting for an upcoming workshop. The Smoky’s are known for three prominent features: great vistas, biodiversity, and cultural history. Because of this, it’s a great location for photography as you might imagine. It’s also the unofficial salamander capital of the world. Of course there are also lots of bears, but if you weighed all of the salamanders and all of the bears, the salamanders would outweigh the bears by a significant margin.
I actually learned this while on a junior ranger hike with my son – he has a collection of ranger badges at home from different National Parks, and for us it’s an education that is potentially better than any he can get at a public school. He learns about conservation, the environment, respect, responsibility, and of course what I do for a living. Mathematics are important, but real world experience is better. It’s one of the reasons I try and get him out with me as much as possible.
We’re camping on the shores of the Little River, and it’s great to listen to the sound of the water all night long – quite serene and the perfect way to end a long busy day. I’ll post more photos and thoughts about the trip when I return next week.