OR - HIKING TRAILS OF THE SMOKIES - Elizabeth Davis
- Alright, here is another one. I actually wrote it a while ago, but I
was waiting until I finished the pack one before I submitted it.
Here is the HTML link: http://tiny.cc/3ByR5
Thanks in advance for the edits!
HIKING TRAILS OF THE SMOKIES
by ELIZABETH DAVIS
July 26, 2008
Name: Elizabeth Davis
Height: 5 ft 4 in ( 1.63 m)
Weight: 125 lb (57 kg)
Email address: elizrd AT gmail DOT com
City, State, Country: Knoxville, Tennessee, USA
Backpacking Background: I have been backpacking occasionally since I
was about eleven. During the last two years I have been hiking and
backpacking every chance I get. I hike about twice a month, and more
on holidays. I usually go on short backpacking trips of about
two/three days and I enjoy wet, rugged conditions. I'd like to stay
out longer in the future. My pack is usually fairly lightweight. Most
of my trips are in the Southern Appalachians where temperatures range
from 80 F (27 C) to 0 F (-18 C).
Publisher: Great Smoky Mountains Association
Copyright: 2003, 3rd edition
Measured Weight: 12 oz (340 g)
Measured Dimensions: 4.5 in by 6 in by 1 in (11.4 cm by 15.2 cm by 2.5 cm)
Product Description: This is a guidebook for all of the maintained
trails in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. It was co-written
by 17 hiker/writers, and is known to hikers in the area as the "brown
book". It comes with a map which is great for planning trips but
terrible for navigation.
I have used this guide for all of the hikes and backpacking trips of I
have done in the Smokies for the last year and a half, which totals
approximately 400 miles of use. This guide differs from the multitudes
of hiking books about the Smokies for several reasons: it covers all
of the maintained trails in the park, it has elevation charts for each
trail, and it has the most accurate mileages available. This book has
every trail individually described in its entirety. This means that,
when armed with a map and this book, I can plan any trip I like and
have information for all of the trail. Lovely. The elevation charts
are simply continuous line graphs which show the change in elevation
per mile. They also have markings to show some points of interest and
any large unbridged stream crossings. They are very useful for gauging
where I am in a hike, and for planning hikes with groups of
individuals with varying abilities. I can also just read a USGS quad
map and get the same information, but when a quad map isn't available,
the elevation charts provide more detailed information than the basic
topo map printed for the Smokies. The trail mileages given in this
book are the most accurate mileages anywhere (including posted trail
signs). Bob Lochbaum, one of the contributors for the book, wheeled
each trail in the park at least twice prior to the books publication.
While trail signs at either end of a trail will sometimes disagree
with the book (or each other!), the book is correct. The map also has
the correct mileage, but is not a topographic map. It has wiggly lines
to indicate trails, and show the mileage between intersections. Do not
buy this book for the map. However, if, for some reason you lose the
map and want another one, it is available for $1.00 at most park
The book is laid out with an introduction that includes helpful
telephone numbers for planning trips, Leave No Trace regulations,
notes on bears, snakebites, poison ivy, blisters, and other concerns,
weather, and suggested loop routes. I would not rely on this book for
a first aid manual as the descriptions are brief. After the
introduction, the trail descriptions are arranged alphabetically.
Each trail description has seven sections: Length, Highlights,
Cautions, Map Key, Use, and Trailhead, and Narrative.
Length: Just that. The length of the trail (given in miles) in its entirety.
Highlights: Includes highlights such as "spring flowers", "winter
views", "old homesites", "solitude", and "fringed polygala blooms in
Cautions: Includes cautions such as "unbridged stream crossings",
"icicles falling from Alum Cave bluff", and "exposed cliffs"
Map Key: Gives the coordinates for the map supplied with the book,
and the USGS quad.
Use: Indicates hiking trail, horse and hiking trail, or, in the case
of Trillium Gap Trail, horse and hiking and llama trail.
Trailhead/Starting Point: Provides a brief description of how to get
to the trail. This is the only part of the book I have ever had
trouble with, and then only once. Once I spent an hour driving around
on back roads trying to find Rich Mountain Road out of Tuckaleechee
cove, and guess what? It's a dead end! The book fails to mention that
Rich Mountain road has an imposing "dead end" sign at the beginning of
it. We finally tried that direction as a last resort, and arrived at
the trailhead. Really, I can hardly complain that a hiking guide book
doesn't have great driving directions. After all, it is a hiking book.
The last part of the trail description is the trail narrative. It
begins at one end of the trail, and follows through, as though the
author were hiking the trail. It includes interesting geological,
historical, and botanical facts about the trail. Depending on the
particular author, a trail narrative may focus on the story of some
previous residents of the area, or describe some of the spring flowers
and edible plants nearby. The trail narrative includes mileages for
landmarks such as outstanding trees, campsites, and stream crossings.
The narrative also includes detailed descriptions of campsites. The
narratives are extremely well written, and are very interesting. They
provide a great background for knowledge of the area through which I
The only complaint I have about this book is that it doesn't include
references to manways or off-trail paths. I have seen previous
editions of this book which included this information, and I think it
is very interesting and incredibly useful (because I like off-trail
hiking). However, the authors state in the introduction that they do
not want to include manways, because the use of manways is more
dangerous and has greater impact on park resources than the use of
trails. Perhaps it is good that information about off-trail hikes is
hard to access because it prevents all but the dedicated from
venturing off-trail, which cuts down on cross-country travel.
I really like this guide, and will continue to carry it for hikes in
THINGS I LIKE
It is a great size and weight to throw in a backpack
It is thorough, and includes all the trails in the Smokies
Well-written, informative, narratives
Printed with soy ink on recycled paper with a sewn binding!
THING I DON'T LIKE
No manways or off-trail references
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> EDIT: OR - HIKING TRAILS OF THE SMOKIES - Elizabeth DavisHi Elizabeth, thanks for your Owner Review. My Edit, as you've
recently seen and in line with our Bylaws, takes the usual
format: "EDIT" - something requiring a change due to a typo or BGT
policy, "Edit" - something I suggest you think about changing though
the call remains up to you, "Comment" - whatever else I felt like
Please see below.
--- In BackpackGearTest@yahoogroups.com, "Elizabeth Davis"
>#### Comment: Well, good call, as uploading this one will garner you
> Alright, here is another one. I actually wrote it a while ago, but I
> was waiting until I finished the pack one before I submitted it.
a shiny new brownie point. Are brownie points shiny? Maybe let's not
go there ...
> PRODUCT INFORMATION### Edit: Whether a clickable hyperlink to a publisher is necessary
> Publisher: Great Smoky Mountains Association
is still under discussion. But as "http://www.smokiesstore.org/" is
easy enough to provide, I suggest you include it. Saves possibly
having to go back and redo it.
> Copyright: 2003, 3rd edition2.5 cm)
> ISBN: 0-937207-15-2
> Measured Weight: 12 oz (340 g)
> Measured Dimensions: 4.5 in by 6 in by 1 in (11.4 cm by 15.2 cm by
> MSRP: US$19.99### EDIT: Please put a space between "US$" and "19.99"
> FIELD LOCATION/REVIEW### EDIT: "that" I have done in the Smokies
> I have used this guide for all of the hikes and backpacking trips
> of I have done in the Smokies for the last year and a half,
> which totals approximately 400 miles of use.### Comment: Impressive.
### EDIT: metric conversion, please.
> Bob Lochbaum, one of the contributors for the book, wheeled### EDIT: book's
> each trail in the park at least twice prior to the books
### Edit: Hm. This isn't really your own experience, is it? How
about "The book states that Bob Lochbaum, ..."
> publication.### Edit: That part might also be rephrased. Maybe stating that when
> While trail signs at either end of a trail will sometimes disagree
> with the book (or each other!), the book is correct. The map also
> has the correct mileage, but is not a topographic map.
you've seen disagreements by signs, based on your topo maps you have
found the book's mileage to be correct, or something similar which
lets the reader understand the basis for your judgement call (and
brings your affirmative statement more in line with reporting your
> It has wiggly linesnot
> to indicate trails, and show the mileage between intersections. Do
> buy this book for the map. However, if, for some reason you lose the### EDIT: US$ 1.00
> map and want another one, it is available for $1.00 at most park
> ranger stations.
### Edit: I assume these are "Smoky Mountain park ranger stations".
### Comment: Yes, I can be that nitpicky. I have a reputation to
> Each trail description has seven sections: Length, Highlights,### Edit: I believe enumerations are supposed to use the word "and"
> Cautions, Map Key, Use, and Trailhead, and Narrative.
only once, before the last item enumerated.
> THINGS I LIKE### Comment: It weighs about as much as my cook kit. What exactly do
> It is a great size and weight to throw in a backpack
you mean when you state that your pack is generally lightweight?
Elizabeth, I hope you take the slightly teasing comments above in the
friendly spirit I assure you they are offered. Please repost with the
word "REPOST" substituted for my "EDIT" in the subject line above.
Please consider taking a picture of the book, or possibly a
representative page - this would go some way to further improve the
accessibility of your report. Which I've found quite accessible as
written and you see that I haven't had much to edit, let alone EDIT.