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NPS Centennial: Exploring the Great Smokies in Tennessee

 
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I always like to visit the Great Smoky Mountain National Park because it is the most bio-diverse park in the NPS.  With everything from huge, exposed balds and ridge lines to dark and wet coves, the Smokies have it all.  They have just over 800 miles of trails that can give you whatever you want to see while in the woods.  I have been trying to knock out every trail in the Park since I was in college, and I am up to just over 600 miles complete…and don’t want it to end!  For that reason, every trip to the Smokies is my favorite trip.

GSMNP-Chris-1.jpgI enjoy seeing the old settler sites that used to exist before the Park was incorporated into the National Park System and wondering what life was like back then.  Besides the old homesteads, there are still remnants of cars and tractors on the trails.  It’s always cool to stumble upon those and wonder why they were left.  I also enjoy the solitude on top of the ridge line with views into North Carolina and Tennessee.  That’s where I choose to spend most of my time.  From Gregory Bald on the southern end to Mt. Cammerer on the northern end, the possibilities are unlimited.  

GSMNP-Chris-2.jpgI have seen everything from an Easter sunrise from Clingman’s Dome to the night lights of Knoxville, Townsend, Maryville, Gatlinburg, Pigeon Forge, and Townsend pop up when the sun sets in the west.  I’ve been up there in the heat of summer, when bears are foraging for berries, and in the dead of winter, where the path was covered with 8 inches of ice or snow drifts about 5 feet tall.  As long as you are prepared, you will love the adventure any time of the year!

- Chris, Mast Store Home Office

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