What a glorious day to be in Great Smoky Mountains National Park! It started out in the 40s but by lunchtime it was in the 60s.
I led a group of hikers from Friends of the Smokies on a 6.1 mile hike on Little Cataloochee Trail. Some folks were very new to the Smokies and the area and others had never been on this trail. In addition, Steve Woody, whose grandfather lived in Cataloochee, came on the hike. Steve is a founding board member of Friends of the Smokies.
We went up to the Hannah cemetery and the Hannah cabin but the highlight of the hike is always the Little Cataloochee Baptist Church.
This building was built in 1889. You can go in and ring the bell. All buildings in the Smokies are open because the park believes that there’s less vandalism that way.
The church has a large cemetery and people always are on the lookout for children’s graves. This baby died in childbirth. See the picture to the right.
The hike went up to the Cook cabin and then we walked another few minutes to see some of the work paid for by the precursor of Trails Forever. The trail on the way to Davidson Gap was muddy and rocky. One spot was particularly bad so a boardwalk was built. Now even horses can walk on it and the wood won’t crack. It doesn’t look like much unless you remember how bad it was before.
Steve took us off trail to the great wall of Cataloochee. It was a wall to keep the cattle out of the gardens around the house. I don’t think I could find it again.
I feel lucky to be able to lead these hikes. They’re not difficult or long but I get to see a familiar area again and really study it.
The next hike will be on Tuesday Nov. 1. We’ll go through the tunnel and on the Lake Shore Trail. Check out the Friends event page.