Tip Thursday: Things I learned

Things I learned on my photo trip to the Smoky Mountains.

Here are some tips and tidbits I learned while camping for 8 days.

It takes twice as long to set up and take down camp as you think.

Just because the map says it is only 12 miles to somewhere doesn’t mean it will take the same time to drive as flat land.

It gets darker faster and daylight slower in the mountains than at home.

Just because it has been dark for 3 hours does not mean it is time for bed.

32 degrees is a lot colder at 3000 feet than at sea level.

Air beds get very cold to sleep on without something between you and it.

A queen size leaky airbed is worse than a waterbed for two people to try and sleep on.

No matter how late always pitch your tent.

Always put on the rain fly.

Never, ever forget a bag of garbage in bear country. It will be the one time one visits your camp.

80% of the tourists are idiots.

Just because a skinny, in shape, 25 year old hiker says the trail is easy to moderate do not believe him.

Every waterfall requires a steep hike either uphill or down.

If the hike is downhill remember you have to come back up.

Just because it is October do not assume there will be no kids around.

The national park is VERY crowded during October.

Avoid Cades cove and Clingmans dome after 10 AM

If you are having a great day someone will screw it up

If you want to stay at Cades Cove or Catalocchie campground, in October, make reservations well ahead of time.

Cherokee, Pigeon Forge and Gatlinburg are tourist traps.

Don’t drive into Cataloochie from the north along Hwy 32 unless you are in a small 4×4 and expect to take 3 hours to get there.

Joyce Kilmer Memorial forest requires an up mountain switchback trail to see anything worthwhile.It is not for fat old people with heart problems.

The Cherohala skyway and Blue ridge Parkway are very crowded on the weekends.

Hwy 276 and 215 along with Forest road 475 and 475B will offer you a more relaxed less crowded drive for fall colors.

Out of shape fat old people can not make all three waterfalls, in one day, at the Dupont state forest.

Biltmore house is just as expensive as it is grand.

I would recommend Chilowee campground in the Cherokee national forest, Davidson river camp just north of Brevard, NC,  Smokemont in the GSMNP, Deep Creek camp in Bryson City and Horse cove in the Joyce Kilmer forest.

Every creek up there is a photography treasure.

Know your physical limitations, We took a rest day after 4 days.

Take plenty of memory cards and a backup device

Cell phone coverage is very spotty

McDonalds is an excellent place for internet

NC wastes a lot of money on stupid, useless road signs. Dangerous curve after you have been through 30 in one mile, one lane bridge on a narrow dirt road, no passing where you can’t see around a mountain curve.

and finally 8 days is not nearly enough

One Response to “Tip Thursday: Things I learned”

  1. AND you are never too fat, too old, or too unhealthy for a camping trip to be really, really fun.

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