Light morning exercise before breakfast. Getting on/off transportation; driving 32 miles, approximately 45 minutes to Baxter Creek. Walking up to four miles, approximately 3-4 hours depending on the speed of the group and the number of stops along the way; rocky, well-traveled trails. Wear comfortable hiking shoes, bring daypacks with water, sunscreen, bug spray; depending on weather, you may want a sweater and/or rain jacket.
In the Lambuth Inn dining room, we will have a plentiful buffet featuring a variety of items including scrambled eggs, a meat and a starch option, and seasonal fresh fruit, plus coffee, tea, water. Soft drinks may be purchased in the lobby.
We’ll hop aboard our transportation and head out for a full-day field trip to Baxter Creek in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park (GSMNP). This is the most visited National Park in the entire system, yet, given the fact that it covers 500,000 acres, seldom seems crowded. It is also the most biodiverse, supporting more than 19,000 documented species of plants and animals — including more than 1,500 flowering plant species — thanks to the combination of mountains that formed 200-300 million years ago, the climate, and weather. GSMNP contains more than 800 miles of trails through scenic forests. With our local expert naturalists, we will walk along the trail together, identifying plants and hearing about their usage and folklore. The trail wanders beside a mountain stream, then veers off to a small open meadow; these two environments offer the potential for a wide variety of spring ephemerals.
In the park, we’ll have boxed lunches including a sandwich, fruit, chips, water, and a sweet. Our local naturalist instructor will give a more detailed instruction on how to use the non-technical key to identify plants. We will be using the Newcomb Guide.
Our local naturalist will give us an introduction to the unique features of this environment and its history. Both the Baxter Creek and Big Creek trails follow along creeks; one is more strenuous than the other. You may choose to proceed leisurely along either trail and look for blooms or walk a bit faster and cover both trails. This is a good area for trillium. Our naturalists will be walking the trails as well to assist you in identification. We’ll return to the hotel after our field trip.
Dining room buffet.
At the hotel, we'll hear about the history of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park and the original Scots-Irish immigrants who settled there.