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Introduction and the AT in the Smokies

        I have been backpacking now for about Three years now and have been
on about 5 trips. I(20) would of liked to go on more than about two each
summer. I was going with a 60 year old father who slowed the pace down and
did not want to go on more trips than just two a summer. Now that his health
is bad the only way to go is by myself or convince my Brother(30) to go with
me, and I will not solo since these days it is just to dangerous unless you
go with someone in the backcountry.  Could join a group, but there are not
any in my area except the sierra club. I am have been a member of the ATC
conference since 1992. I have backpacked the section of the AT from Newfound
gap to Russell field in the smokies. 

        A word of advice for those wanting to go to the smokies. The
Tennessee Tourism deptpartment is predicting a great tourism season in the
Smokies this summer which means a miserable season for those who want to
*really* enjoy the smokies by backpacking.  The way to have a pleasant
experience in the smokies is to avoid the popular spots in the smokies and
stick to the backcountry trails.  Also, if you are backpacking remember to
make reservations for the shelters on the AT. While the RidgeRunners cannot
fine you if you don't make reservations, if you are unfortunate to run into
a backcountry ranger they will fine you and fine you heavily.  Well, enough
for now.

P.S. If you are interesting in either doing artwork or contributing to a new
online magazine about backpacking, email me. My address is below.
James Bryan (jhbryan@edge.net)	http://edge.edge.net/~jhbryan/ 
Brentwood, TN  USA