Archive for March, 2009
When the weather forecast calls for a wet rainy weekend, that could be the very best time to visit the Great Smoky Mountains of North Carolina …especially if you love waterfalls. It’s when the creeks and rivers are in their finest whitewater form.
Indian Creek Falls is always beautiful. But it has never looked better than in the above photo, which was shot a few hours after a heavy Spring rain swept through the Park. Indian Creek is one of three scenic waterfalls in the Deep Creek Area of the National Park two miles north of Bryson City. All are within a mile of the trail head parking lot.
The Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians opens its hatchery-supported tribal waters for fishing on March 28, one week ahead of the North Carolina state trout season. Cherokee’s “Enterprise Waters” include more than thirty miles of clear, stocked streams and three easily accessed ponds. The Fisheries & Wildlife Management program, which manages the tribal trout hatchery, will have stocked 20,000 pounds of rainbow, brook, brown and some golden trout for opening day.
The cost of a tribal fishing license, which is all you need to fish tribal waters, is $7 per day, $14 for two days, $20 for three days and $28 for five days. A $200 annual permit is good March 28, 2009 through February 28, 2010. The daily creel limit is 10 for adult anglers and a parent/guardian with a child or children.
The tribe offers three handicapped fishing piers which can accommodate wheelchairs. One is located at the fishing ponds in Big Cove and two are along the Oconaluftee River in downtown Cherokee.
Cherokee also features a catch & release fly fishing only section — more than two miles long — which begins at the Blue Ridge Parkway bridge on Big Cove Road and ends at the River Valley Campround. This section of stream requires a catch & release special use permit for $20 which is good for a 365 days from the date of purchase and at least a daily tribal fishing permit.
Photo by J.R. vanLienden
From the very top of the Smokies at Clingmans Dome, Sharon McCarthy (aka “Smoky Scout”) surveys the mountains that have become very familiar to her over the past year. She’s in the process of hiking all 900 miles of trails in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park to raise money for the Girl Scouts in North Carolina.
Sharon anticipates that her final hike will be the Old Sugarlands Trail near the Sugarlands Visitor Center on April 11. Including the additional miles she’s walked to access each of the trails, she will have hiked more than 1000 miles altogether. It’s a feat that will reward her with membership in the elite 900 Miler Club, a group that has added just 250 hikers since its founding in 1995.
You can read Sharon’s journal on her blog “Great Smoky Mountains Girl Scout Challenge“. And while there, why not support the Girl Scouts with an online contribution?
Photo by Jim McCarthy
Throughout 2009, extra attention will be focused on The Great Smoky Mountains National Park as the nation’s most visited national park celebrates its 75th Anniversary year. In the North Carolina Smokies, the anniversary season gets underway next weekend with the seasonal opening of the historic Mingus Mill. Built in 1886, the historic water-powered grist mill is just a half-mile from the Oconaluftee visitor center in Cherokee.
A complete schedule of 75th anniversary events in Bryson City and surrounding North Carolina communities can be found on the Bryson City website. In addition to the official anniversary events, there’s a wealth of information on things to to in the North Carolina Smokies. Information on all 2009 events is available on the Park’s official 75th anniversary web site. Photo by J.R. vanLienden.
“Old Clampitt”, as it’s known in Bryson City, is the antithesis of the modern big box store. It’s an old-fashioned country store where you can still find such uncommon necessities as beekeeping supplies, horse tack and chicken feeders. The venerable N.C. Clampitt Hardware Store is the oldest continuously-operated business in Swain County and a fixture on Bryson City’s Main Street for generations. In 1982, when owners Monte and Diana Clampitt expanded the business into larger space just three doors down the street, they kept the old store open, to the delight of locals and visitors alike. Above, shopkeeper Teresa Maynard shows an old-fashioned crock jug to Sevierville visitors Tom and Linda Lakey.