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Trillium Gap Trail, Smoky Mountains

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.

Grotto Falls, Smoky Mountains

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This Post Has 9 Comments

      1. I did some, but that was back in the day (for me) of Kodachrome 64 and Velvia 100!

        Yeh, I did a some amount of hiking there (stayed away mostly because of the number of visitors), but did more at Big South Fork National Recreation Area (north of GSMNP) in Tennessee; another great spot, a couple hours closer than GSMNP is the Roan Highlands. Roan Mountain State Park has nice camping facilities (good sites and hot showers); the Roan Highlands begin at Roan Mountain (straddling the NC and TN line) where there is the largest natural garden of rhododendron, and then extends northeast along the Appalachian Trail, mostly as balds (high elevation grassy areas, where you can see mostly 360 degrees). Not far from the main access at Carver’s Gap, is a short (but vigorous) climb up to Round Bald, which is just gorgeous. The rhododendron generally bloom in late June.

  1. Robert

    Looking forward to your thoughts as GSMNP is on my list of places to go to. A workshop would be a great idea. Pictures look great. It sounds like a great family trip. Enjoy.

    1. Awesome Bill, thanks – I’ll be visiting more in the next few months to get comfortable with the park and the topography. Will keep you posted.


  2. Looks like you had an awesome trip. Stumbled across your site and I’m happy I did. I love your photographs and I love the Southern Appalachians. I lived in Knoxville for almost four years and spent a lot of time in the mountains. I can’t wait to take my kids. Thanks!

    1. Thanks for the comment Serge – you kids will love it just as my son did, and the education they get from spending time in nature is truly priceless. Best of luck on your trip.


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