Adventures in a Blog



Smoky Mountains Trip: Part 1

Trip to the smokies

Last weekend we had the amazing opportunity to go backpack in the Smoky Mountains! We headed up to Tennessee via Knoxville and then drove into the North Carolina Part of the park to tackle the Mount Sterling loop. 17 miles round trip in three days with 4,000 feet worth of an elevation change. It was a challenge, but we loved it!

If you are interested, the full day recap for day 1 is below. Day 2 and day 3 are coming later this week!

Here's the affiliate links for the gear used in our video:

You can check out our hammock system at Sierra Madre Research!

We started our adventure at the Big Creek campground in the Smoky Mountains National Park. If you would like to do the same trail as we did, check out the featured hike on hikingproject.com!

Arrived at camp tonight. Miraculously got all my work done, dropped off the dog, got on our FIRST choice of flight, our baggage didn’t get lost, picked up our car, made it to REI before it closed, picked up food and drove to the campgrounds without getting lost. Nubé is up and we will organize our packs in the morning. It’s a little humid tonight but I think a night in the hammock is just what the doctor ordered.
— From Maddie's Journal, 8.11.16
Today was awesome. Slept in and then ate breakfast. Got to enjoy my coffee in my hammock while watching the trees. The sound of the water is the best white noise around.

We set out around noon after packing everything we didn’t need into our car. Parking is limited so we ended up just parking at the campgrounds we stayed at last night and hiking a tenth of a mile to the trail head. Then we were off!

It’s a slight grade all the way out here but I didn’t find it too unbearable. It follows the creek for most of the way and we were greeted by cascade after cascade. We hiked for about 30 minutes before reaching midnight pool. Nothing very dark about it but it did have a rock you could jump off. Jared did. With the Go Pro. Should be good footage when we get back!

The swimming hole was really crowded (lots of day hikers) so we then hiked another ten minutes down to Mouse Creek Falls. It was beautiful! Not the biggest waterfall ever but it sits on the side of the mountain like a throne room. It’s gorgeous!

We ate lunch on a rock and then walked up to the falls to take pictures. Then we swam for just a little while in the COLD water before packing up and heading out.

We just got everything in the bags before it started raining on us. It wasn’t just a sprinkle. It was legitimate rainfall. It lasted about ten minutes. Thankfully we were able to get back into the woods and it helped us (and our gear) not get super wet.

From there it was about an hour and a half hike to the campgrounds. You can definitely tell where the day hikers stop and the backpackers continue. The trail gets very narrow...sometimes has foliage growing over it. But it’s beautiful back here. We followed the creek yet again all the way up to our campsite.

There are a surprising number of people here. And we had to walk around a bunch before we saw a campsite that we actually liked with good trees away from people (and the bear pulley systems). We spent a good amount of time figuring out how to hang our hammocks and I think we got a good system now. We put my hammock on the top now since it’s longer and can stretch further. We also used both sets of straps so that my hammock can hang much higher on the tree and still not be super tight. We also added a gear line up top and it makes me so happy. I’m so glad to be back in my hammock.

We had gluten free pasta tonight and drank plenty of water after how much we exerted today. After cleaning up a bit and changing into pajamas, we planes cards for just a little bit. Then we hopped into our hammocks and read “Around the World in 80 Days” before Jared got really tired and wanted to go to bed. I’m going to stay up just a little bit longer and read my magazines.
— From Maddie's Journal, 8.12.16