On a crisp afternoon in November 2009 I was hiking along Pretty Hollow Creek in the Great Smokies when I heard voices up ahead. I looked up to see three backpackers, two on the far side of the creek, a third, wearing a jester’s hat, tiptoeing her way over the creek atop a downed hemlock. The two who had successfully made the passage were offering their … encouragement to the one in transit. Then, one yelled about the last two words I was expecting to hear.
Fall fever: You caught it this week, do something about it this weekend.
There should be a law that during the first legitimate week of fall weather — which would be this week — you get to take a day off from work. What the heck, let’s just assume there is such a law and you have elected to start the weekend early and take Friday off. Good move, for that means you can head to the coast and take the Alligator River Canoe Tour conducted by the Coastal Wildlife Refuge Society. The three-hour tour (9 a.m. to noon) explores blackwater canals and Milltail Creek, touching on the history of the area and searching for the refuge’s abundant wildlife (which includes Alligator River Wildlife Refuge’s namesake critter). It’s an exceptionally scenic area, an exceptionally rewarding paddle. All gear is provided: $35 for adults, $20 for kids 12 and under.