If you follow this blog, you know that I enjoy volunteering to help shuttle Appalachian Trail hikers between Gatlinburg and the Trail. I love to get up early, pick up the hikers at their hotel, and head up the mountain. Everyone has a story, and they are all happy to be off on their adventure. It’s fun to see them head down the trail, sometimes in rain or fog, sometimes in snow, but always in high spirits.
This is the high season for Appalachian Trail hikers. The “through hikers” have started in Geogia and are attempting to make it all the way to Mt. Katahdin in Maine before cold weather sets in. See the sign below … 1972 miles to go before the trail ends in Maine! There are also many “sectional hikers” who are doing segments of the trail, and many of these hikers have a goal of completing the entire trail, one section at a time.
This week I have made two early morning runs up the mountain, both to help out folks doing sectional hikes. The three gentlemen in the photo above are from Houston, and they started in Georgia with a 5-week time allotment. They will complete the entire 70-mile traverse of the Smoky Mountains, plus some more. The couple below have been Appalachian Trail hikers working on their sections for 15 years, and are nearly complet. This was their first hike in the Smoky Mountains.
Whether you’re a serious hiker or a vacationer in the Gatlinburg area, please consider a trek out to the William Britten Gallery. I’m located on Glades Rd along the historic Arts and Crafts Loop. My complete display of photography from the Smoky Mountains is on display. There just might be a special memory of the Smokies for you to take home.