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Author Topic: Smokies with the kids  (Read 1107 times)

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wsp_scott

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Smokies with the kids
« on: June 28, 2016, 02:38:18 PM »

A couple short backpacking trips with the kids.

The first trip was to see the synchronous fireflies along the Little River.








The second trip was with my oldest just to get into the woods. Spent a couple nights and hiked to Abrams Falls.





I find it very easy to backpack with kids in the Smokies since there is no uncertainty about campsites or water and the bear cables are very convenient. If I am by myself, I usually prefer more solitude.

1st trip http://backpackandbeer.blogspot.com/2016/06/fireflies-in-smokies.html

2nd trip http://backpackandbeer.blogspot.com/2016/06/dad-and-daughter-and-bugs-go-camping.html
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Mark W

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Re: Smokies with the kids
« Reply #1 on: June 28, 2016, 03:02:52 PM »

Thanks for posting those. I read the one about the Abrams Falls trip and really enjoyed it. Cool to see people enjoying time with their kids outdoors.

My first backpacking trip in the Smokies was that same trip. We stayed at the first campsite you come to one the Cane Creek Trail the first night, then we stayed at Campsite #17 for two nights and dayhiked to Abrams Falls. We were there in the week and had it to ourselves which was really nice. We explored up the tiny creek with the small waterfall you took a break at and that experience is what gave me the creekwalking and off-trail exploring "bug".
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FallenArches

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Re: Smokies with the kids
« Reply #2 on: June 28, 2016, 04:34:46 PM »

How were the fireflys?  I saw a documentary on that last year and it looked cool. 
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wsp_scott

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Re: Smokies with the kids
« Reply #3 on: June 28, 2016, 09:54:28 PM »

I think I said it in the blog post, but the biggest problem with the fireflies is it takes a while for them to get going. It seemed like they really started firing around 9:30/10:00 and I was ready for bed by 10:30. At the time I thought they were pretty cool, reminded me of the end scene of "Close Encounters of the Third Kind" with all the lights flashing. Then I got home and saw "regular" fireflies in my backyard. The synchronous ones are super cool, I think I am going to try to go back next year and stay up later. I have a feeling that they get more synchronized as the night goes on.

If you don't want to do a backpacking trip, I talked to a local and she said the Elkmont campground gets the fireflies as well. You just have to book your campsite when it opens up 6 months in advance. I might try that with the whole family next year as well.
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wsp_scott

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Re: Smokies with the kids
« Reply #4 on: June 29, 2016, 05:41:59 PM »

Thanks for posting those. I read the one about the Abrams Falls trip and really enjoyed it. Cool to see people enjoying time with their kids outdoors.

My first backpacking trip in the Smokies was that same trip. We stayed at the first campsite you come to one the Cane Creek Trail the first night, then we stayed at Campsite #17 for two nights and dayhiked to Abrams Falls. We were there in the week and had it to ourselves which was really nice. We explored up the tiny creek with the small waterfall you took a break at and that experience is what gave me the creekwalking and off-trail exploring "bug".

What did you find up that little creek that set you on creekwalking? I'm guessing a pot of gold :)

That is a nice area of the park, but feels very different from the other parts I have been in, more dry and "piney". The next time I am going back in the spring when it is cooler.
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Mark W

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Re: Smokies with the kids
« Reply #5 on: June 30, 2016, 03:41:13 PM »

We didn't really find one major attraction, it was more just the thrill of walking up a stream that was almost completely covered by rhododendron and seeing all these little sluices and drops and channels and pools. It was mid-summer and the cold water felt great, so that probably had something to do with it, too.

Here is a picture of the waterfall that is right by the trail:


After we climbed around that we explored upstream for maybe 300 feet, it was pretty slow and difficult going but we had a blast.

Also, it is funny that you mention the bug bites . . . my friend got a ton on our trip (we still talk about it years later) but I escaped unbugged for some reason.
« Last Edit: June 30, 2016, 03:43:01 PM by Mark W »
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Navigator

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Re: Smokies with the kids
« Reply #6 on: June 30, 2016, 04:14:02 PM »

Wonderful pictures. The Smokies and surrounding area is the place to go for waterfalls. Check out Paint Creek some time. It is east of the Smokies. Absolutely beautiful. You can take the kids. Very level along the creek, not real high falls, but lots of cascades. There is a campground near there, but I haven't been there. A good place for solitude is Round Mountain campground. Weekdays it is deserted. Its far enough from any major roads to be very quiet. There is a trail from the campground that goes up to a shelter on the AT. About a 1200 ft elevation change, but really not that hard.
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ShifuCareaga

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Re: Smokies with the kids
« Reply #7 on: July 01, 2016, 09:32:40 AM »

Thanks for posting this. I have a fond and faint memory from that Falls as a kid, and now I am confirmed that was it. OF course in my childhood memory seeing people jump from it it seemed massive and frightening. I even had a dream about it once. I've not gotten to creekwalk the Smokies, as I was always with family and doing Gatlinburg and Cade's Cove and all that. I'll have to ponder adding it... though I still have so many KY trips already planned so it wouldn't be til the kids were a bit older. I had to actually put off Quadrule Falls because it had been raining and my 4 year old son would not have done well in it. Creekwalking is going to be more in the future as the 2 year old achieves some height. MY last creekwalk was Laurel Gorge in May
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