The slowest mile I’ve ever hiked

I have the curious distinction of being able to pinpoint precisely the slowest mile I’ve ever hiked: March 18, 2017, on Alum Cave Trail from the trailhead to Arch Rock. My oldest son, who had turned five the previous day, had requested to “climb a mountain” for his birthday. His mother and I decided to […]

Lessons in misreading a Smokies map

In my history classes, I try to teach my students that, as much as maps can reveal about a place, they can also obscure other important information. For example, a political map of Europe just prior to World War I can help us understand…

The magic of a first hike in the Smokies

Story and photo by Hunter Upchurch Inspired by a family trip to Douglas Lake in East Tennessee in the summer of 2016, I decided I wanted to give hiking a try. Though I had grown up spending lots of time outdoors in the rural Mississippi Delta, the main activities were hunting and fishing, neither of […]