Smokies Chronicle: A Year of Hiking in Great Smoky Mountains National Park
John F. Blair, Publisher
8 x 8
50 black-and-white photos; 40 maps
Since its creation in 1934, the Great Smoky Mountains National Park has become the most heavily visited of all our national parks, with yearly visitation sometimes surpassing 10 million people.
To many, the Smokies are among the loveliest and most interesting mountains anywhere, favored by a remarkable biodiversity owing mostly to copious precipitation, elevation variation, and remnants of the most recent ice age. In the park, one finds a variety of trees and plants similar to that of the entire 2,200-mile Appalachian Trail from north Georgia to central Maine.
As the national park system celebrated its centennial in 2016, Ben Anderson decided to explore and closely observe, across the seasons, as much of the nation’s most popular national park as practicable during the year. On the three or four hikes he took each month, he revisited a number of trails he was familiar with from previous hiking and backpacking excursions, often through his role as a Smokies backcountry volunteer for more than 20 years. Even on familiar trails, he sought a greater perspective and deeper insight into the park.
In Smokies Chronicle, Anderson offers observations on natural and human history, mountain culture, geography, geology, flora and fauna. The book also deftly blends the personal with the universal in a compelling mix of entries from the backcountry.
Although this book can be used as a helpful trail guide, it also provides a fresh look and an engaging narrative about our most heavily visited national park, through the eyes and ears of a writer who has an extensive history with the park.
“Ben Anderson reflects in his Smokies Chronicle that ‘all trails offer a story of some sort,’ and indeed he shares the stories with an indelible imagery through the turning of the seasons and all of weather’s mountain moods. His meticulous descriptions for each of the forty trails traversed are an invaluable resource for those trekkers who follow in his footsteps.”
--Doug Orr, President Emeritus, Warren Wilson College
“It's my privilege to announce yet another author in the grand tradition of writing about hiking in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. Ben Anderson's Smokies Chronicle depicts his ‘personal way’ of celebrating the National Park Service Centennial by ‘seeking deeper insights into the park through its extensive network of established trails.’ It's our great good fortune to have him share those insights with us.”
--George Ellison, “Nature Journal” columnist for The (Asheville) Citizen-Times