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When it comes to Backpack Travel, my wife Dolores and I discovered that for the price of two airline tickets and a rental car we could pay for our entire vacation by driving our own car!
So that's what we did. We drove from south Florida up into north Georgia to a small town called Blue Ridge. Blue Ridge area has many places to hike and this is where the Appalachian trail starts at Springer Mountain.
One of the must things to do here is to ride the Blue Ridge Scenic Railway. It crosses into Tennessee and runs along the Toccoa River.
The Toccoa River becomes the Ocoee River in Tennessee. We got off the train in Copperhill, Tennessee and hiked around the town and then returned to Blue Ridge later by the scenic railroad.
We later drove into Tennessee and through Copperhill, TN along the Ocoee River to see what good backpacking we could find. The Ocoee is where they had the Olympics for Kayaking and we soon found the location. The facility here is called the Ocoee Whitewater Center in the Cherokee National Forest. We backpacked across and along the river. They have a very nice trail loop that runs through the forest and comes back out by the river and bridges.
Ocoee Whitewater Center
We were there when it rained a lot, flooding Atlanta, GA to the south, and they were letting water out of the dam upstream. There were flashing lights and loud speakers along the river that were warning people to get off the river. The water rose slowly enough to allow us to hike along the river without fear of getting caught by the rapidly moving river.
Unfortunately for us we fell when my wife Dolores and I were walking up the steps by the visitor center. I had an umbrella in one hand and my arm around my wife's waist so when we fell I was unable to catch my fall.
I got banged up pretty good. I had just purchased a smart phone and it got cracked but still worked. My wife gave me some first aid and band aids since I got the worst of it. All the mountains and treacherous trails I've hiked on, I get hurt on steps. Pretty embarrassing!
When we crossed into Tennessee from Georgia we also saw beautiful mountains around the North Carolina-Tennessee border.
NC/TN State Line
When wanting to learn more about North Carolina, north-carolina-travel-guide.com is a well organized, informative "all in one" site where you can find all the resources you will need to plan your next trip to beautiful, friendly North Carolina.
We visited Smoky Mountains National Park. We hiked many of the trails there and saw bears at one of the trail heads. Two bear cubs climbed a tree next to my car. They were so close they could have jumped through the car window.
Smoky Mountains, TN
When we left Smoky Mountains National Park we stayed in Gatlinburg, TN. just outside the park entrance. This place is the "Las Vegas" of Tennessee. It has motels, restaurants and many theme based attractions.
We stayed at a motel overlooking the river. Incredible! We could sit on the balcony and listen to the water running over the rocks. Backpack travel is a lot of fun when seeing such gorgeous mountains, forests and rushing rivers!
Dolores and Joe in Gatlinburg, TN
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