After my run in with the alligator I thought “hey, why not hit the AT and see if I can bump noses with a black bear!” Well, not really but I did ask the family if we could go back home a different way so I could get some trail running on the long green tunnel. Lucky for me they were game and off we headed to Gatlinburg, TN.
I first learned about the AT while out for a run with a friend. He mentioned a book called “A Walk in the Woods” by Bill Bryson. It’s a detailed account of how the trail came to be along with history of towns and interesting locations it passes though. It’s very entertaining along with educational. After reading this, I could not wait to get out on the trail and experience it for myself. I don’t read as much as I would like to, but this is a book I will read again.
We arrived in the busy little town of Gatlinburg, TN around 1pm. Ron and I changed our clothes, jumped back in the truck, and headed into the Smokey Mountain National Park. We made our way up the mountain and found the parking lot that sits directly on the Tennessee and North Carolina state line. We saw the sign for the Appalachian Trail (Newfound Gap section heading North) and made our way towards it. I see a sign that states Katahdin, Maine being 1972 miles away. I really think it’s unique that a person could literally hop on this trail and for the most part be secluded from civilization until you arrived at the northern most state on the eastern seaboard. Ron and I walked a bit of the terraced trail together, until it started turning rocky, then I decided to head out and run on the trail for an out and back. Ron and I decided to meet back at the parking lot an hour and a half from the time time I took off.
rocky footing in the Smokey Mountains
I took my Flip Mino HD out with me to capture some of the trail and its’ surroundings. I put a little video of my short time on the trail together and you can check it out below.
Post run we checked out where the other trailhead was so I could know where to head the next time I come here. Along with that I snapped some pictures and stitched together the panorama below. I can’t wait to go back. 6 hours is a pretty short drive to hop on a national treasure like the AT. I mean seriously, look at that view below! Who would not want to see that? I’m hooked and can’t wait to go back and either run some more or even take on some multi-day hikes.
So what about you? Ever been on the AT? At what spot? Let us know in the comments!