In Episode 15, we cover the high cost of hiking and camping just about anywhere, including the Great Smoky Mountains. We also include our Tip of the Week and News From Around the Mountains.
High Cost of Hiking and Camping:
Quality costs money, and if you don’t pay the price upfront, you will likely end up paying more for it in the end. Do your research and take the time to decide what fits your needs and buy good gear even if you have to buy it one piece at a time. Shop for items off-season (gloves in summer) for bargains. Shop local retailers and then buy online if the price differential is substantial then buy online. Otherwise, support your local shops. Expensive items are USUALLY quality items that are more suited toward the activity.
Andrews Bald is one of the most popular hikes in the Smoky Mountains. It is the tallest bald in the park, and since the hike is not particularly difficult, it is very popular. A total of 3.6 miles (1.8 each way) completes this scenic hike. The trail is very rocky, especially at the beginning, but it soon becomes a gentle trail. Steps and pathways have been created throughout to help with the erosion problems from overuse.
The access road, Clingmans Dome Road, is closed during the winter, but you can park at Newfound Gap and hike the seven-mile road or hike the Appalachian Trail south from the Gap to arrive at the Forney Ridge Trailhead. Scenery is wonderful throughout the hike and from the huge bald at the top you can see Bryson City, Fontana Lake, and too many different mountains to name here. It is definitely a must do.
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Intro/Outro Music: “KM 19” by “The Breakmen” www.thebreakmen.com