July 2013, on the eighth through the thirteenth, we took our second trip as EYS Class of 2016. Since last Summer, we have had three new people join our group, and I know that we all enjoy each other’s company. We are very happy to have them in our group. (Samantha, Shaderick, and Krisitan. Please forgive me if their names are spelled wrong.)
Last Summer our trip was mainly to get to know each other, and to learn about the natural history of the Great Smoky Mountains. This year, however, we learned about the cultural history of the GSMNP. We hiked to the Walker sisters cabin, which is near Metcalf Bottoms picnic area. We also talked to a woman named Robin, who grew up living with the Walker Sisters. She talked to us about each of them, and how they worked together, as well as what life was like back then.
We also climbed a 60ft Alpine Tower, at Maryville College. That experience was fun, but it also gave each of us a chance to push our limits, and encourage others to do the same.
Our backpacking trip was three days and two nights. Luckily, unlike last year, it did not rain on us a lot. In fact it only rained on us once, and we already had our tents set up.
The backpacking trip was loads of fun. We learned, talked, and laughed a lot. The five of us who were initially in the group grew closer, and we all got to know the new people. Plus, we were a little sad about not having last years group leaders, Caleb and Gina, but John and Casey were just as crazy and fun. We grew close to them as well.
Before we started our backpacking trip though, we drove trough Cades Cove. We got stuck in a couple of bear jams, but we ended up not seeing any bears. Though, we did see some bear scat on the backpacking part. We also walked through Elkmont and hiked to a cabin, that not a lot of people get to see.
All in all, the trip was fun, we had some hilarious moments, and some slightly depressing ones; we got to eat trail food, I definitely stepped away with a lot of new knowledge about the cultural history of the GSMNP, our group grew closer to each other; plus we are one step closer to becoming great leaders for the preservation and conservation of our National Parks.
– Bella Weeks