Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Smoky Mountain Park Rangers guided hike in North Carolina

Don't miss this limited opportunity to go hiking Sunday, November 5th with a national park ranger so you can enjoy the fall weather and learn about the history of the Hazel Creek area on the north shore of Fontana Lake in North Carolina.

Because of limited funding, guided hikes by rangers are not common and this hike is also limited 20 participants because of the limited seating on the pontoon boat that will take you from the Fontana Village Resort Marina to the trail.

The entire round trip hike on the hazel creek trail is 4 miles and hiking shoes or boots are suggested as the trail ranges from easy to moderate. Hikers will enjoy about 4 hours on the trail which will include visiting what was the former sawmill town of Procter which was built in the early 1900s and even be able to see historic maps and photos of the area.

After lunch which will be eaten on the trail, anyone who wishes to can visit the historic Proctor Family Cemetery.

Hikers should brink plenty of water and pack food as there are no facilities or food available on the hazel Creek trail. The Fontana Village Resort Marian does have restrooms and you will find snacks and drinks for sale. Jackets and rain gear are also strongly recommended.

Hikers under be at least 13 years old and reservations are required by calling the Great Smoky Mountains Association at (865) 436-7318, extension 22 next Monday October 30th from 10:00 am and 4:00 pm. A credit card is required at the time of the reservation to pay the $15 per person fee for this hike through the Smoky Mountains.

For those taking the hike, they should be promptly at the Ranger station by 9:00 am. The actual hike will take approximately 4 hours and the returning boat will get you back to the marina by 3:30 pm.

Directions to the Fontana Village Resort Marina: located near Fontana Dam just off Highway 28, 33 miles west of Bryson City, N.C. and 95 miles west of Asheville, N.C. Turn right off of Highway 28 at the sign for Fontana Dam then follow the signs for the boat dock.

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