It’s a Spring Thing- Get Outdoors
As sure as wild onions and daffodils pop up during spring in the 9 Lakes Region, fun outdoor activities are also popping up. Spring is a great time to play in the 9 Lakes. Shake off the winter blues and get outdoors. Expect daylight average temperatures to be in the upper 60s and lower 70s, which are perfect temperatures for active outdoor adventures such as hiking, biking, back packing, paddling or floating up the clouds. Here are five ideas to usher in spring:
Hike the Benton MacKaye Trail– Getting outside after a long winter and exploring the woods was a tradition in early Appalachia. People would forage for sassafras, dandelions, or ramps to make spring tonics which were said to cleanse the system after a long winter. Begin your adventure by picking up a trail map at the Cherohala Visitors Center in Tellico Plains. Your trek will take you deep into the Cherokee National Forest resplendent with waterfalls, carpets of wildflowers, and balds with amazing vistas- a visual tonic for the spirit and senses.
Run for a cause on April 24– Need to shake off the doldrums of winter and get active? Gatlinburg is hosting the Running with the Bears 5K/ Fun Walk. Bears in the Smokies do not hibernate, but do sleep for long periods in the winter, emerging when spring arrives with its warmer days. Come out of your winter hibernation and lace up your shoes for a cause. Proceeds will benefit programs that serve to preserve and protect the black bear.
Bike for a cause on April 24- This year’s annual flower walks have been cancelled, but don’t despair. Tour the Norris area watershed with the NATS Bicycle Poker Run. Two rides are featured. The poker run organizers are celebrating Earth Day and will be providing a native flowering plant to each registrant. Proceeds from the ride will be used to support the maintenance of trails in the state park and watershed.
Roll down your windows and take a ride: If it is spring, then the “long and winding” roads of the 9 Lakes offer up some nice cruising roads. Legends of moonshining and race car driving are in the DNA of the region. Stop by one of the outdoor car shows that pop up in the spring or cruise the back roads on your own personal adventure.
See the Smokies from a new perspective– Need to let go of some stress? Consider a morning of floating in the clouds. What’s Up Ballooning is booking hot air balloon rides for the spring and summer. Bring your camera and capture a bird’s eye view of Gatlinburg and the Smokies.
The Vernal Equinox begins on March 19 and the outdoor beckons. Welcome Spring 2020!