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Backpacker Magazine – June 2011

National Parks: Great Smoky Mountains

For guaranteed solitude in the park's southwest reaches, explore this quiet loop during the off-season.

by: Charles Bethea

Crystal Clear Twenty Mile Creek (Photo by Brett Siminson)
Crystal Clear Twenty Mile Creek (Photo by Brett Siminson)
An illuminated firefly (Photo by Rick Lieder)
An illuminated firefly (Photo by Rick Lieder)



ASK A BEAR

Q: Why do you love the Smokies so much?

A: For the same reason you humans love your all-you-can-eat buffets. The Smokies have a smorgasbord of savory delectables, like acorns, blueberries, raspberries, insects, and squawroot. My mouth is watering just thinking about it. Food’s a pretty big deal when there are 1,500 other black bears competing for grub. Plus, I can eat 20 hours per day and consume 15,000 to 20,000 calories to prep for my winter nap. Think I’m exaggerating? Watch me at Cades Cove or in the oak trees that line the road. One more thing: We’re opportunistic eaters, so leave the acorn-patterned sweater at home.




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