Summmer Backpacking in the Great Smoky Mountain National Park

The pictures and video are put together to contextualize the experience.  There is no sound other that what was naturally recorded to frame what it was like in the moment and through the experience.

YOUTUBE VIDEO: Summer Backpacking in the Smoky Mountain National Park 2017

Backpacking Day 1

Working through thoughts and taking time to intentially take a break has been aswesome.  I have enjoyed the experience of connecting and learning by watching and waiting. 

IMAGE: Icewater Springs Shelter Water Source

Tonight at the shelter it was about people.  Two recent college graduates were starting their work lives.  One was aspiring towards nursing and the other towards teaching.  They both displayed a passion for what they were aiming for and their excitement flowed through their actions and words.  They were not as full of themselves (as they shared that they had been) but they were not full of others.  

The challenge they had undertaken had encompassed 27 days of hiking and over 300 miles of trail.  I greatly appreciate their perspective on hiking as it was not as much about the “idea” of thru hiking that can become romanticized but on the experience.  Their pace was about 6 days behind that of a thru hiker pace.  If you are thru hiking you may miss opportunities to connect and notice and really see what is around you.

Where else do you meet strangers and share life so, openly?  You talk about everything under the sun!  Lesson: slow down and let it happen.

IMAGE: Myrtle Point Overlook at 6:15 AM

This description is what they called “trail religion” and how being exposed to the natural, uninhibited world gifts spiritual context.  Dad and I talked about that while we were hiking as, well.  Defining what that looks like; belief and truth.

Also, two guys that have been friends for over thirty years were on a journey for ten days.  The way they talked was really refrehing and wholesome.  There was also a family of three.  The (teacher) and (nurse) took the son of the family in their care and showed him how to start a fire, make dinner, and sneak up on a deer that had approached the shelter.  A working community was born.  One of the two older friends was a middle school teacher and the other a son of missionary parents both of which were interested in the lives of others and a pleasure to be around.  During the evening I did not say much and just listened to the conversations.

IMAGE: Charlie’s Bunion at 5:30 AM

I have been quiet and reflective and not wanting to miss a moment.  I am SO THANKFUL for this opportunity.  The more trips I go on with dad the more I appreciate them (and him).  I am writing this from the Icewater Springs shelter.  We have been here before and I am thankful for one more visit.

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