S’more Good Hiking Posts – The Sweetest Reads of the Week #3

It’s time for a campfire, some good company and S’mores – S’more Good Hiking Posts, that is. Here’s a collection of some of the sweetest reads I’ve found around the web this week.

Lighten Up, Will Ya’!

Are you new to lightweight backpacking? No need to be so heavy about it. Follow these 5 tips from GoLite and save yourself some trouble on the trail. It’s a great place to start for successful, safe and smart lightweight backpacking. These folks know what they’re talking about.

The 5 ‘Please Don’ts’ of Lightweight Backpacking for Beginners – Mistakes to Avoid

So, here you are. You drank the Kool-Aid so to speak and are convinced that lightweight backpacking is the way to go. Well, congratulations because you are right! Going light on the trail takes away unnecessary aches and pains and trades them in for more enjoyment and fun. But only if you do it right. Read more…

A Choice Every Outdoor Parent Has To Face

Kids change everything! How much risk are you willing to take on your hiking adventures once you have a family? I know my willingness to risk it all decreased immediately when our first child was born. And I’m not the only parent who’s noticed this change. Check out Melissa’s experience over at Adventure Tykes.

Risk Taking As A Parent

Recently there has been a lot of discussion going around the blogosphere about adventuring and taking risks as a parent. Quite a few parents have been sharing stories about what risk takers they were pre-child and how their risk taking has toned way down or become null since they’ve become parents. Read more…

Rain, Rain, Go Away

Experience is the best teacher – especially under extreme conditions. My friend, Andy, literally had all night  to think about the rainy predicament he found himself in and has some great suggestions to share with you in his post at Sierra SocialHub.

What I Learned While Not Sleeping All Night in a Rainstorm

Lying wide awake listening to the sound of rain drops pounding on my tent, I was beginning to freak out. As an experienced car camper, I wanted to make a run for the car and get out of this fierce rainstorm. Unfortunately, I was ten days into a 14-day backpacking trip and many miles from any vehicle or shelter. Read more…

The End Is In Sight

You can’t walk over 2,000 miles and not expect to have a bad day, a body ache, a strong emotion…or two. Likewise, you can’t deny the kindness, support and joy you find along the way. No one shares it with as much honesty or makes it as real – the real you can actually feel in your heart – as Kimberlie from The New Nomads. Each post, like this one, is a masterfully crafted portrait of her amazing journey on the PCT.

Mile 2155 – The Bipolar Section

Not the land.. No.. The land always just is what it is.. It’s me. I became a maniacal bipolar occupant of the land in these last 7 days. One day I’d wake up a reborn wood nymph, headed gleefully towards a bluegrass festival with fists full of black licorice and a vibrant awe in my gait. The next morning…. Read more…

What’s A Little Rain?

There’s nothing I enjoy more than walking in the woods on a rainy day. And I’m not the only one. Crystal, a member of our Google+ Thru-hiking Community, writes about her rainy day hike at Acadia National Park on her blog, A New Day Yesterday. I don’t know about you, but it kinda makes me wish I were there too.

Rainy day hiking in Acadia National Park

My original reason for coming to the East Coast was that I saw a picture of Acadia National Park one day and decided that I just had to go there. The scenery is just beautiful, and what better way to take it in than by hitting some of the park’s many hiking trails. Read more…

That’s it for this week. Thanks for visiting.

See ya’ on the trail,

Deep Creek and Juney Whank Falls

Looking for a good time? Maybe some wholesome family fun? Deep Creek is about as close as you can come to a natural amusement park…and a helluva lot cheaper.

We’ve been going for years and we’ve only seen and done a fraction of what’s available.

Cool and refreshing Deep Creek in the GSMNP

Looking upstream at the calm, lower section of Deep Creek. Great for younger kids to tube!

There’s so much to love about Deep Creek! Each time we go I promise myself we’re going to explore more of the whole area.

But, alas, I’m just a kid at heart. All we ever do, like so many times before, is tube down the half-mile long white water rapids of Deep Creek. All day long; up and down, one run after another with a little swimming thrown in now and then.

It’s so much fun. You’ve really got to try it for yourself!

Here’s a video from last year’s trip. I didn’t feel like walking back to my car to get my camera this year. It would have kept me from making another run.

Located on the southern edge of the Great Smoky Mountain Park and just north of Bryson City, there’s so much more to Deep Creek than tubing. I know, for some of you who have been there, that’s going to sound blasphemous, but it’s true.

You’ll find lots of hiking trails, bridle trails, waterfalls, camping and picnicking around Deep Creek.

Admittedly, I’ve never done all these other fun things, but judging from their popularity, I’d still recommend them.

Useful tips I wish someone told us the first time we went tubing at Deep Creek:

  • Go early and plan to stay all day
  • Tube rentals range from $3 to $5 a day – make sure you get one with a bottom
  • Wear water shoes and a swim suit that won’t get pulled off by the strong water
  • Plan to have a picnic while you’re there.
  • Try to avoid weekends. They’re VERY crowded.

On this year’s trip I did manage to break tradition…slightly. I got everyone to go on a very short hike to Juney Whank Falls.

I did say very short hike, didn’t I?Juney Whank trailheadThe trailhead is right at the main parking lot and it’s only .3 mile to the falls. Luckily everyone was interested in doing it. (I think the idea of seeing a waterfall motivated them.)

It’s an easy walk. Most of the trail is shared with a wide bridle path which meanders around Deep Creek. The grade is easy – around 200 feet elevation gain – and the trail, like most National Parks, is well maintained.

Juney Whank is a charming waterfall with about an 80-foot drop, and well worth the trip. There’s a very nice bridge spanning the falls with a built-in bench to sit and rest as you watch and listen to the tumbling water.

Viewing the upper section of Juney Whank Falls

This is the view looking up at Juney Whank Falls.

Viewing the lower section of Juney Whank Falls

This is the view looking down Juney Whank Falls.

You can keep walking – the trail makes a loop – or go back the way you came. Katie and I decided to head back the way we came since the kids were stating to show signs of hunger and you know how irritable hungry kids can be on the trail. It was time for dinner.

So what about next year?

Next year I promise to explore more. Serioulsy! I do. I mean I will. You can hold me to it. ‘Till then…

See ya’ on the trail,

Directions to Deep Creek:

From the Great Smoky Mountain Expressway, take the Veterans Blvd exit and follow the signs to Bryson City. Stay on this road and veer right at the light just before the river. The road changes names to Slope St. Turn right on Mitchell St, then left on Everett St. Cross the railroad tracks and turn right on Depot St. Turn left on Ramseur St and then an immediate right on Deep Creek Rd. Veer left onto West Deep Creek Rd and follow this as it winds around to the Smoky Mountain Park entrance. Pick up your tubes before entering park and then drive another half mile to the Deep Creek parking area.