July 10, 2018
by Julie Dodd
Friends of the Smokies held a special Classic Hikes of the Smokies two-day event, June 11-12, in Cades Cove that brought together hikers to enjoy camaraderie and to explore trails in the area.
On Monday the group hiked to Abrams Falls, not letting a light rain deter them. They ate lunch at the falls, enjoying the view of the falls.
After hiking, the group drove the Cades Cove Loop, seeing bears and deer.
Monday evening the hikers attended a reception and dinner at Miss Lily’s Catering. Retired ranger Dwight McCarter was the guest speaker, talking about his time as a backcountry ranger.
During his career with search and rescue, McCarter found 26 people who had been lost in the Smokies. McCarter said he attributes his search skills to his grandmother who was part Cherokee and taught him tracking skills.
Beth Bramhall, a park ranger based in Cades Cove, also joined the group for dinner to meet the hikers and talk about Cades Cove. Her husband, Bill Mize, played acoustic guitar.
Tuesday provided beautiful weather. The hikers divided into two groups for different hikes.
One group, led by expert hiker and author Danny Bernstein, hiked the Rich Mountain Loop. They enjoyed the wildflowers and a visit to the John Oliver Cabin.
The second group hiked to Gregory Bald with leader Steve Pierce, a 900-miler hiker. A highlight was being able to see the amazing and many colored azaleas at the top and also see Cades Cove from above (see the photo at the top of this post).
Linda Spangler, a regular hiker for FOTS Classic Hikes, took the photos included in this post. More of her photos are available on FOTS Facebook.
The Cades Cove two-day event was a special edition of FOTS Classic Hikes of the Smokies. Typically the Classic Hikes are guided day hikes held the second Tuesday of the month from March through December. Special two-day Classic Hike events in previous years have been held at Fontana Dam and LeConte Lodge.
The next Classic Hike of the Smokies will be on August 14, hiking 9.8 miles total on Bradley Fork and Cabin Flats.
Individual hikes are $20 for current Friends of the Smokies members and $35 for new and renewing members. Funds go to support the Trails Forever program that restores popular trails in the GSMNP.
Contact Marielle to register for the hike or with any questions.
The Classic Hikes of the Smokies series is sponsored by Smoky Mountain Living, Mission Health, Diamond Brand Outdoors, Equilibar, HomeTrust Bank, Smoky Park Supper Club, and Leap Frog Tours.