My parents are visiting. My dad fixed my modem. The driver had to be reinstalled, and there were complications with that.

Sunday we went to Dollywood. I don’t like theme parks, but Dollywood wasn’t too bad. We saw a couple of good shows and one really bad one. The banjo player in the bluegrass band was amazing. He barely moved his fingers, but he picked very fast.

We keep eating out. I’m going to undo all the good I’ve done with my hiking.


We spent the day getting ready for tomorrow’s festival. This afternoon, we picked up a moonshine still to use as an exhibit. We picked it up from an old-school gas station in Cosby (complete with lazy old hound dog, dirty little kid, and people sitting on the porch). Cosby calls itself the “Moonshine Capital of the World.” As I was loading the boiler into the government van the whole thing suddenly struck me as funny and I started laughing.

My folks are coming in tonight.

Third week at the Smokies

I’m finishing my third week at the Smokies. My dial-up connection at home hasn’t worked until today, and I’m still having some problems.

It’s going well so far. I get a little stressed but things are working out just fine. This place is pretty amazing, in addition to being huge and very busy. I’ve hiked a few trails. In fact I put in a 14-mile hike in the Cosby area last weekend. I thought I was going to die. The trails are long- well, they are not so long by themselves, but if you start combining different segments into loops they add up. 10 miles a day is my usual upper limit. That long hike was worth it, though. I have lots of photos so far and there will be more to come, if I can get the computer to work properly.

Gatlinburg, the town right at the park entrance, is a tourist trap. Literally, it looks like Frontierland at Disney World. It makes me want to puke. It’s congested, ugly, and full of schlock. When you cross the park boundary, it’s like another world. The Gatlinburg fathers should take a trip to Moab, Utah and see how a national park gateway community can complement the public land around it rather than compete against it.

The staff at the park is great (and large). Everything is someone’s job here. They’re also really into the mountain culture here. In fact, my staff is planning a mountain heritage festival for next weekend. Hence the occasional stress. I’m doing a good job, I think. I supervise veteran interpreters who actually know what they are doing so it’s much easier.

More later.