Trail Speak in the Great Smoky Mountains

I recently had the opportunity to get my hikers back on and hit the trails. After several Florida beach trips and an Alaskan cruise, it felt like forever since my feet were swaddled in my hikers. I missed it. A lot.

So, I laced up and hit the Smoky Mountain trails. I’ll be honest, though. I was afraid that the Smokies would not offer the rugged mountain peaks or the grandeur of the glaciers that I have found, and loved, in other national parks. The pictures I’ve seen of GSMNP were all green and foresty. Pretty, but not the dramatic mountainous landscapes that I’ve grown to love. However, I really did enjoy the vistas and their views, and in my opinion, Great Smoky Mountains National Park has some of the prettiest trails I’ve trekked. I couldn’t believe that my eyes were even able to discern the many different hues of green that the trails offered. It was incredible! The Smoky Mountain trails definitely offer something different from the other parks’ trails, which is why we love ALL of our national parks. They are different, and yet, they are all breathtakingly beautiful.

The GSMNP trails, like all the others, varied in difficulty. Some days we easily hiked a few trails, putting in a good 10+ mile day. Other days, we felt spent after just a 4 or 5 mile hike that may have been more challenging. In hiking again, however, I did begin to discover a pattern of language, which I’ll call Trail Speak, shared with my fellow hikers. It seemed we had the same sentiments as we hiked up the trail, and we had the same sentiments as we hiked down the trails. Our Trail Speak seemed to come with some comedic contrasts.

See if you’ve experienced the same kind of Trail Speak that we did.

Here were our top five sentiments: GSMNP Chimney Tops Trail
5) Up the trail: I’m sort of afraid there are bears in here.
Down the trail: I’m so mad we didn’t see any bears!

4) Up the trail: This is great. Hiking makes me feel energetic and young again!
Down the trail: I’m feeling my age on this one.

3) Up the trail: I don’t think this trail feels “moderately difficult” at all.
Down the trail: That was one of the hardest trails I did. It should be labeled “strenuous.”

2) Up the trail: Well, at least going down will be much easier.
Down the trail: Ow, ow, ow, ow!

1) Up the trail: How much farther until we get there?
Down the trail: How much farther until we get there?