Haywood Hikers entertain Oregon hikers
Haywood Hikers, a local group of avid hikers, recently shared their love for the Great Smoky Mountains with a group of hikers from Portland, Oregon.
This is the second year the group has traveled from one corner of the country to our corner to enjoy the majestic landscapes of Western North Carolina — terrain that is much different than what they are accustomed to in the Pacific Northwest.
The Oregon group, comprised of more than 20 people, stayed at Maggie Valley Creekside Lodge for a week and were taken on several guided hikes by the Haywood Hikers.
The trip was facilitated by Jim and Betty Selby who lived in Haywood from 1997 until 2005 when they moved to Portland. The Selbys were very active members of the Haywood Hikers and joined the Portland Hikers when they moved. He first brought the group here a few years ago, and most of them were eager to return this year.
Dick Meissner with the Portland hikers said he enjoyed the different setting. While Oregon has mostly evergreens and the landscape is more vast and open, the Great Smoky Mountains have more hardwoods and much of the landscape is closed in — until you reach the summits of course.
"It's just beautiful," he said.
The two groups all met up one night at Creekside Lodge for a nice potluck dinner to relax after their long day of hiking.
Mary and Tony Spiering of Portland said they had an incredible day hiking at Little Cataloochee and seeking the elk and even a bear along their path.
"The tour leaders have been great," Mary said. "They've been able to take us to exclusive spots that we wouldn't have known about otherwise if we were just on our own."
"Every single hike we've found something spectacular," Tony added.
While many were returning for a second time to Haywood County, Frank Dausz said it was his first time ever being in this part of the country.
"I've been all over the world but I'd never seen the Smokies," he said. "I've been hiking most of my life and it's pretty spectacular to see this kind of forest."
The Haywood Hikers were established in 1994 and plan periodical hikers all over the region. To join the group for a hike, call Bob Walkup at 828-280-1278