Go hiking, shopping with Friends of the Smokies Dec. 15
Add a little outdoor joy to the holiday season with a guided hike of the Mingus Creek Trail, followed by a trip to the Oconaluftee Visitor Center Saturday, Thursday, Dec. 15. This is a time for some Great Smoky Mountain history and holiday shopping in the Great Smoky Mountains Association bookstore and shop. Friends of the Smokies members receive 15 percent percent off purchases so bring boots, membership card and wallet.
Friend of the Smokies hiking enthusiast and author of two regional hiking guides Danny Bernstein will lead this roughly six-mile hike with roughly 700-foot elevation change, along the Mingus Creek Trail, which is part of the Mountains-to-Sea trail in the Park.
Glimpses into history found in the park along this hike are the historic Mingus Mill, the Mingus family cemetery and a slave cemetery. The hike is moderate in difficulty and may be muddy. A special bonus to the day will be the holiday homecoming event at the Mountain Farm Museum and Oconaluftee Visitor Center, featuring traditional mountain holiday music and Christmas celebrations.
Participants may gather to depart from Asheville at 8:30 a.m., in Maggie Valley at 9 a.m. or in the park at 9:30 a.m. A donation of $35 to go to the Friends' Smokies Trails Forever program is requested, and includes a complimentary membership to Friends of the Smokies. Current Friends of the Smokies members hike for $10. Hikers who bring a friend hike for free.
To register, contact Friends of the Smokies at firstname.lastname@example.org or 452-0720. For a complete list of the North Carolina Classic Hikes series, visit www.friendsofthesmokies.org. Information about helping with the improvements to trails in Great Smoky Mountains National Park is at www.smokiestrailsforever.org.