Starting a New Hiking Project?



A few days ago, I scouted a hike that I’m leading for Friends of the Smokies – Nov. 1. The hike starts from Lake Shore Dr. in Great Smoky Mountains National Park at the tunnel. I’m trying to avoid saying “Road to Nowhere” but that’s how most people will recognize the area. Hannah E., an intern with Friends in the North Carolina office, hiked with me. Yes, she kept up just fine – hah, hah.

As we chatted and I practiced my history talk – it was a scout after all – I realized that I was starting a new hiking projects. I love the Park but didn’t want to redo the Smokies 900. I want to find all the cemeteries in the Park. Some say that there are about 200.RTONWscout-Hannahattunnel

Now between doing all the trails in the Smokies and going on several Decoration Days, I’ve been to many cemeteries. But I’m starting over – as of the last Friends hike in Little Cataloochee.

RTONWscout-HannahatWoodycemeteryThis hike took us to the Woody and Hoyle Cemeteries.

Woody Cemetery is easy to find – it’s off the Lakeshore Trail and we’ll go up there on the Nov. 1 hike. I don’t know why it’s called the Woody Cemetery, since we could only find one grave with the last name of Woody – see above.

RTONWscout-Dannyat HoyleThe Hoyle Cemetery was not easy to find.

I knew it was off Bear Creek Trail. As we walked up Bear Creek – this is not part of the official hike – I kept hoping that I would find the turn quickly. Hannah didn’t sign up for this diversion but she was a great sport.

We found a small bridge on the right and then the dead giveaway for a cemetery, a No Horses sign. We’re golden, so we thought.

Then the trail started climbing and climbing. It was a reasonable trail to follow, if you looked for clues like cut branches. We passed a stone cabin – who would live up there? And then finally, after over 500 feet of climbing, the Hoyle Cemetery, with four graves. Success. That’s me above at the Hoyle Cemetery.

I’m not in a rush on this hiking project. If I just hike in the Park, I’ll get a lot of them. But I’ll have to hunt up the rest.

If you want to get in on the hike -Free for Friends Members – go to the Friends event page and see the details.


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