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Wednesday, 28 July 2010 13:16

Park ranger programs offer window on Smokies

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Before summer slips by, take in one of the many ranger guided programs in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, from naturalist hikes to history talks.

Here’s a line of up of free programs on tap in the Smokies this summer.

Even You Can Play The Hog Fiddle! Join a park ranger to learn about the hog fiddle (a.k.a. the mountain dulcimer), and master two tunes on it —guaranteed or double your money back! Wednesdays at 11 a.m. at the Mountain Farm Museum, adjacent to the Oconaluftee Visitor Center at the entrance to the park on U.S. 441.

A Stitch in Time. Learn about quilting and make a quilted potholder as a keepsake from your visit to the Smokies. Thursdays at 10 a.m. and 10:40 a.m. at the Mountain Farm Museum adjacent to the Oconaluftee Visitor Center at the entrance to the park on U.S. 441.

Fishy Facts. Take a short walk near the Oconaluftee River to learn about some of the park’s native fish species, some older methods of fishing, and streams in the park. Fridays at 11:30 a.m. at the Oconaluftee Visitor Center at the entrance to the park on U.S. 441.

Oconaluftee River Trail Walk. 45-minute guided walk. Saturdays at 11:30 a.m. at the Oconaluftee Visitor Center at the entrance to the park on U.S. 441.

Coffee with a Ranger: Hemlock Horrors. Join a ranger for some coffee and chat about the fate of the hemlock trees in the park. Sundays at 10 a.m. at Smokemont Campground three miles past the N.C. entrance to the park on U.S. 441.

Hike: Where the Waters Sing. Pack a snack or lunch and water and join a ranger on a moderate 3-mile round-trip hike along Bradley Fork to Chasteen Creek Falls.  Sundays at 11:30 a.m. at Smokemont Campground three miles past the N.C. entrance to the park on U.S. 441. Meet at Bradley Fork trailhead on the D-loop.

Smokemont History Walk. A one-mile hike to a cemetery and learn about the people and rich history of the Smokemont area. Mondays at 11 a.m. at Smokemont Campground three miles past the N.C. entrance to the park on U.S. 441.

House of Salvation, Education, and Damnation. Join a Ranger and discover how old-time mountain religion met spiritual, social, and community needs. Wednesdays at 1 p.m. at Smokemont Baptist Church near the entrance to Smokemont Campground three miles past the N.C. entrance to the park on U.S. 441.

Woodhicks & Misery Whips Nature Walk. Discover the profound impact the industrial boom in America had on the Great Smoky Mountains on a one hour walk. Saturdays at 7 p.m. at Smokemont Campground three miles past the N.C. entrance to the park on U.S. 441.

The Smokies at Twilight: Sunset Hike. Join a Ranger on a short walk to experience this remarkable area in all its glory. Wear sturdy hiking shoes or boots and bring a flashlight. Mondays at 7:30 p.m. at Clingmans Dome. Meet near the bulletin board.

Anikituwahgi:  The Cherokees of the Appalachians. Learn about the inhabitants of the Qualla Boundary, home of the Eastern Band of the Cherokee Indians, as we discuss aspects of their past and present. Try your skill with an authentic Cherokee blowgun. Tuesdays at 10 a.m. at Collins Creek Picnic Area five miles past the N.C. entrance to the park on U.S. 441.

Lunch with a Ranger. Bring your lunch and join a ranger for some noon-time conversation.  Ask questions, share your experiences, and  make new friends. Tuesdays at noon at Collins Creek Picnic Area five miles past the N.C. entrance to the park on U.S. 441.

Safe Hiking in the Smokies. Learn about hiking safety practices, including changing weather conditions in the Smokies, appropriate dress, and what should be in your backpack. Wednesdays at 12:30 p.m. at Newfound Gap parking area.

“I Hiked the AT!” Join a park ranger for a two-hour walk along part of the Appalachian Trail. Discover the beauty and secrets of this high elevation ecosystem. Thursdays at 10 a.m. at the Newfound Gap parking area.

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