Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Wilderness Wildlife Week

I had two days off  so I drove to Pigeon Forge to hook up with Craig's mom and dad. They volunteer for this event so Carol wanted to show me around. There were so many programs to choose from! I listened to Stephen Bales from Ijams talk about identifying local birds of prey. Carol found me after that so we went together to TWRA's talk about their successes and challenges managing Tennessee's wildlife.

Next was winter nature observations by Joel Zachery, who was very entertaining. Then we checked in on the Beginning Clogging class by the 80 something year old instructors JK and Doris Patton. Carol is going to help out with tomorrow's class. Phew! just trying to keep up, we ran on to listen to retired Ranger Joe Kelly tell us GSM History you May Not Know. Really good! Then we found Jim in time for the Hike Sign Up. This is a lottery system to be fair for folks wanting to go on the hikes and bus trips.

Then a quick bite to eat and on to the night time show. Store Britches, a historical comedy that was first performed in 1936, celebrating our Appalachian Heritage.
Since the ice cream shop was already closed by then, we headed to the hotel for a much deserved good night's sleep....after mapping out the next day's itinerary.


I had signed up for a 13.5 mile hike to Sugarland Mt, led by Marty Silver. If you get the Tennessee Conservationist magazine, this month's cover shots are his. He is a Ranger at Warrior's Path SP. Since Newfound Gap road was closed due to snow, plan B for the hike was Rocky Top. Since that road was also closed this morning, Plan C is now Cosby and Mt. Camerer, since that road IS open. 7 hikers and 2 Rangers, 11 miles and lots of snow. It was a beautiful winter wonderland. Ranger Marty led us onward and upward, pointing out tracks in the snow, moss, lichens, trees. Wonderful hike, glad to meet new hiking friends.

Back at the LeConte Center, I found Carol at the clogging event to let her know I was off the trail and heading home. I am so glad I finally made it to the Wilderness Wildlife Week. If you haven't been, you should put it on your calender. Next year it will be in May instead of January.


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