Lost Trails in the Smokies

Metro Pulse writer Ken Wise has an excellent article on “lost trails” in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. These paths were once marked trails in the Park which, for one reason or another, have been abandoned by the Park Service and do not appear on current maps.

That’s the good news and the bad news. One of the aggravating things about hiking in the Smokies is trying to get away from it all and finding dozens of other people who have the same idea. These trails are guaranteed to have no crowds, but the remote nature of these hikes–here’s the bad news–brings up the very real possibility of getting lost.

Whenever I dayhike, I always carry what the Scouts call the Ten Essentials, with my own modifications.

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  • water bottle–with iodine to purify more water
  • rain gear–absolutely essential in the Smokies
  • change of clothes in plastic bag
  • compass and map
  • trail food–carry enough granola bars to sustain you for 24 hours
  • fire starter/matches
  • knife
  • first aid kit (Band-Aids, wipes, antiseptic)
  • flashlight with working batteries–and extra batteries
  • sun protection
  • And I add the following:

    • Something waterproof to sit on. Being a member of the Soggy Bottom Boys is no fun in the woods.
    • A whistle. You can only holler for a few minutes until your voice gives out, but you can blow a whistle all day.
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