Great Smoky Mountains National Park
Spring is a beautiful time to be in the
Great Smoky Mountains National Park
just as flowers begin to bloom, trees start to leaf out, and weather becomes temperate.
The park is an amazing wilderness with an abundance of wildlife featuring deer, wild boar, black bears
and even red wolves. The park is one of the most visited National Parks in the United States. Despite
its popularity and proximity to population centers, our trip will provide plenty of solitude, far away
from the crowds on the seldom used Lakeshore Trail / Benton Mackeye Trail and Forney Creek Trails.
The Great Smoky Mountains National Park Fitpacking Trip will be from April 28 - May 5, 2012. Even
if you have been on one of our Fitpacking trips through the Smokies before, you will want to join us again
for a different route that promises to be awe inspiring (as well as perspiring). Here is the
Beginning at the 1000 foot long 2-lane pedestrian “Tunnel to Nowhere”, we will encounter a cross
section of Smoky Mountain history
on this hike, including Cherokee legends and heritage, evidence of the logging era, old home sites,
the remains of one of the old Civilian Conservation Corps Camps and one of the camp sites of Horace
Kephart, one of the earliest and best known advocates for the establishment of the Park. We will conclude
our trip with a stay at the rustic LeConte Lodge, the only backcountry lodging in the entire Park. At 6593',
Mt. LeConte is the third highest peak in the Park; is one of the premier vantage points in the Park for
viewing sunrise and sunset, and the only way to get there is on foot.
This trip takes place during the peak
of the Spring wildflower season, and your guides will be happy to identify them for you.
While all Fitpacking trips are difficult, this one might be considered somewhat less strenuous
than others because of fewer and more gradual elevation changes and solid footing, even if
mileages are a little longer.
Weather is always an important concern when hiking. Expect daytime hiking temperatures in the 70s
and nighttime temperatures in the 40s and 50s. However, be prepared for the possibility of day temperatures
as high as 90 and as low as 30, with an occasional chance of rainfall and on rare occasion, snowfall.
Here is the
historical April weather
Be prepared for cold temps at the summit (we had snow one year) as well as warm sunny weather or rain.
lives in Hull, MA and has many years of backpacking experience over a variety of terrains and guides most
Fitpacking trips. He is a SOLO certified Wilderness First Responder, Leave No Trace
Trainer, and Certified Food Handler.
lives in Columbia, SC and is a Wilderness Medicine certified Wilderness First Responder and a Leave No Trace Master Educator.
He is a long-time Scoutmaster and maintains a section of the 76 mile-long Foothills Trail in South and North Carolina.
Here is a
list of equipment
we suggest you bring.
The list is extensive and can seem daunting, but please don't let this deter you
from the trip. You can rent top notch quality gear for reasonable prices from
Lower Gear or
It may also be possible for us to provide some gear for you at a nominal fee if you let us
know far ahead of the trip. Unfortunately, we're not in the gear business so the selection of
our available inventory is unpredictable. Please feel free to
discuss any gear with us before the trip.
We don't believe in austere eating regimens. Backpacking is a rigorous, rewarding activity.
You must feed your body in order for it perform. Your body will dictate that you eat often, so it's important
to have fuel to feed it. Please check out the
is not comprehensive and may be altered or augmented. If you want to bring personal food, say a 5 pound chocolate cake, go for it.
You'll not only hate carrying it over 50 miles through the Smoky Mountain wilderness, your body will reject the empty calories and prefer
$1250 per person. At the outset of our trip, we will be staying in a cabin in
Cabins fit as many as 8 people very snugly, so we may opt for a 2nd cabin or a traditional
motel room for overflow, depending upon the number of participants.
At the end of the trip, we'll be staying at the Hike Inn, a facility which only accepts
hikers where you may get to meet some Appalachian Trail thru-hikers, compare experiences,
and start planning your own thru-hike.
We will also be staying at the famed
LeConte Backcountry Lodge,
located at the top of 6593' Mt. LeConte, providing frontcountry luxury in the wilderness.
You will be responsible for transportation to and from Knoxville if you fly or Fontana
Village if you drive. Free parking is available at Fontana Village during the entire length of
Any restaurant meals eaten off the trail are also your responsibility. This generally means 2 breakfasts
and 2 dinners. Finally, you will be responsible for any personal calls you make or receive on our satellite
phone (typically for emergencies only -- battery life is limited) or from motel/hotel rooms.