So we drove all the way over to NC because BC George needed to knock off the last, almost, of his miles in the Smokies.  He should be setting up OUR tents, dontcha think?  (notice how overcrowded the campsite was, yeah we were alone) 

So we brought along Donnie, er, Bear Grylls Thompson because we needed a good machete man.

It is also never too early for a good pose either. Next week, when George officially finishes his last miles we will celebrate with him.      That looks like a Jerky


 Mike sighting.










  Isn't it ironic?  They want to charge backpackers a fee but these horses are exempt.  Did you all see the recent News Sentinel Article?  We got in a few points,

  Great Smoky Mountains National Park's proposed backcountry fee stirs debate » Knoxville News Sentinel

I'll bet a fee would kill the tubing business on Deep Creek.

One could argue that they might need be the group that gets axed, but I won't.  No one should pay to use land donated to the Federal Govt from the pennies of TN and NC schoolchildren and the Rockefellers.  It is Federal fee grabbing, double dipping at the public trough.  Unless we stand up, prepare for more fees.  I personally think they are trying to run us out of the backcountry altogether so they can shut the gate at night. Then they can charge the dayhikers, then cars.  FDR realized this years ago.  Check out our new coalition.

We all have a bully pulpit and I am using mine to encourage you to DO SOMETHING!  Before you dismiss this as some selfish desire on my behalf consider that I would have gladly donated fees to the park if I believed they would have been used for its good.  Paving 62 million dollars of roads and repairing horse trails is how Ditmanson thought OUR money should be spent.  The NPS is beginning to institute fees for everything.  So I ask you, should backpackers pay when cars and horses and inner tubers and fisherman and gold panners and dayhikers do not? Look at the damage to that stream on your left.  Tell me who does more harm.  It is the principle.  Don't let Washington get it's greedy foot in the door.  Call Congressman Duncan.  His contact info is at the above link.  Your children and their children will thank you.