It was billed as a hike and shop hike but the rain scared so many people away. What a shame!
We went anyway. We started at Mingus Mill which was closed. Even the bathrooms at the mill were close.
Undaunted, we climbed up to see the slave cemetery. Back down and on the Mingus Creek Trail to the Mingus Family Cemetery. The picture above is of us at the junction to the cemetery.
Not all were veteran hikers. A couple of people had been on most of the Friends hike. One was completely new but she did fine and enjoyed the history. But we all had a good time. We talked about the history of the Park, looked at gravestones and compared different sections of the Smokies.
Back at the cars, we drove to Oconaluftee Visitor Center and had lunch on the porch. One of the rangers joined us. Then we went shopping at the bookstore. I bought a couple of gifts and a great shirt.
Florie Takaki was the ranger on duty. She told me about a new volunteer opportunity for next year – Luftee Rovers. You walk the Oconaluftee River Trail, the Mountain Farm Museum and help visitors during elk jams. Sign me up! That’s the job for me.
I always feel good after I lead a Friends hike so I must be doing something right. Join Friends of the Smokies, if you’re not yet a member and contact Holly Demuth, the North Carolina Director of Friends. She’s on the Friends website.