Smoky Mountain Elk Rut is on. The call of the wild echoes in the Smokies as Bull Elks seek mates.
Early autumn sends the powerful mating call of bull elks across many areas of the Smokies during the fall breeding season. This loud bugling sends a challenge to other males in the area, and attempts to attract cows for the bull’s harem. Known as the rut, this annual fascinating ritual, which occurs during mid September through October, is played out each day during the elk mating season.Continue reading…
10 Essentials for Hiking in the Great Smoky Mountains. Packing the 10 Essentials for Hiking in the Great Smoky Mountains is like your insurance policy for a back country emergency. Ninety-nine percent of the time you will not need them but when you do, it’s better to be safe than sorry.
The 10 Essentials were originally conceived in the 1930’s by The Mountaineers club based in Seattle, WA. For over eighty years the 10 Essentials were the standard until 2003 when the group updated the list to a “systems” approach instead of an individual items list. This systems approach categorizes necessities allowing a more thorough level of preparedness.
10 Essential Systems for Hiking in the Great Smoky Mountains:
1 Navigation (map/compass/GPS)
2 Sun Protection (sunscreen/sunglasses)
3 Insulation (extra dry clothing)
4 Illumination (headlamp/flashlight)
5 First-aid Kit/Supplies
6 Fire (waterproof matches/lighter)
7 Repair Kit and Tools
8 Nutrition (extra food)
9 Hydration (extra water/water purification system)
10 Emergency Shelter (Mylar blanket)
Here are the many advantages to the systems approach to the 10 Essentials for Hiking in the Great Smoky Mountains.
Navigation – Map and compass are viewed as a single necessity. Know how to use them. Unless you plan to walk an impossible to miss footpath, invest in a quality topographic map for the area you plan to explore. A GPS is great as long as the batteries last and you know how to operate it.
Sun Protection – Especially at the higher elevations in the National Park, this can be critical. There is nothing worse than a nasty sun burn after a great hike. Even on a hazy day, your skin is at risk for overexposure.
Yes, there are 23 species of snakes found in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, but only 2 of them are poisonous; so don’t let that keep you from getting out and enjoying a walk in the woods this summer. Here’s all you need to know about snakes in the Smoky Mountains and how to stay safe in the great outdoors!
HeySmokies’ recent video on Facebook (see below) of a timber rattlesnake at Gregory Bald created quite a reaction from fans, so we thought some helpful tips were in order so that both snakes and humans can enjoy soaking up the summer sun without fear.
It’s true that one of us at HeySmokies has the unfounded fear that all snakes just lie waiting in the forest to ambush the passerby. Of course, nothing could be further from the truth! Generally, snakes are reclusive and elusive creatures rarely seen by park visitors; however, one of us at HeySmokies is still always asked to go first and be on “snake patrol.” All of this leads us to our first tip: Just use common sense. Be mindful of your surroundings and where you are placing your feet and your hands (and your bum if you have the calling!)
The Timber Rattlesnake, which has the most toxic venom of the two poisonous species, will often give you a loud warning with his rattle if you get too close. You may not hear this if you are hiking with your earbuds blasting out your favorite song. Keep children close and be mindful where they are stepping. When walking through the high grass on a mountain bald it can be hard to see where you are putting your feet; there may be other critters you can’t see enjoying the view too. Wear the proper footwear, it should be obvious that a bite on the foot while wearing flip-flops could be trouble so sturdy hiking boots are a plus. Snakes often lie in the warm leaf litter against fallen trees on the trail so be careful when stepping on and over downed trees.