KEY SKILL: Massage away knee pain
2. Press down on the knee cap with your other palm and slowly knead upward on the quad.
3. Gently squeeze the quad between thumb and fingers, working up the thigh.
SEE THIS: Yellow Trillium
With 1,660 different species of flowering plants, and staggered blooming seasons, the Smokies are like an enormous open-air flower shop. In early March, follow your nose around the Lower Walnut Bottoms’ calcium-rich soils for the lemon-scented yellow trillium, a spring ephemeral that opens above a platform of large, green-and-white speckled leaves. Then step back to absorb the entire multicolored tableau.
Unknown waterfalls in a park with 9 million annual visitors? Definitely—for those willing to earn it. At mile five on the Big Creek Trail, turn left on the Camel Fork Trail, then hike a mile to begin the Gunter Fork Trail. You’ll push through dense underbrush, test your routefinding skills traversing blowdowns, and ford Gunter Fork three times before you access the gem: a seldom-seen, 150-foot waterfall spilling over 6,234-foot Luftee Knob. “You come around a forested bend, and the high falls dominate your view,” says Stuart Peck (below). If you lose the trail, follow the river. “If you’re ascending or can’t hear the stream,” Peck says, “you’re going the wrong way.”
Art Fightmaster, 46, of Gardnersville, Kentucky, loves the Smokies’ fall colors in October. Find Stuart Peck, 26, of Owensburg, Kentucky, climbing Jurassic Raccoon (5.7) in Kings Bluff, near Clarksville, Tennessee.