Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2019 - 12

T H E G O O D WA L K

WALKING INTO

Cherokee, North Carolina
The easy 1.5-mile walk to town can be augmented with a bit of exploring once you get there.
OCONALUFTEE
RIVER TRAIL

E

Text and photos by LEONARD ADKINS

very time Laurie and I had been in Cherokee,
North Carolina, we had been so obsessed with
getting onto the Great Smoky Mountain National Park's pathways that we just quickly drove by
the shops, restaurants, museums and attractions.
I finally came up with a plan that let us obtain
our walking fix and still have the opportunity to
experience the town's offerings.
The nearly-level Oconaluftee River Trail leaves the national park's Oconaluftee Visitor Center to immediately
come to the Mountain Farm Museum, providing insight
into life in these mountains around 1900. I always learn
new things in places such as this. This time I was enlightened as to what a beegum is. (I'll let you learn about it on
your own visit here.)
Towering sycamores, maples and poplars provided
welcomed shade as the pathway met up with its namesake stream. The quiet of the woods was broken when
dozens of families began floating by us in inner tubes.

12

BLUERIDGECOUNTRY.COM

(One Cherokee tubing company claims to be able to put
200 people at a time on the river!) They may have been
noisy, but it sure looked like they were having fun.
We saw no elk despite that everyone at the visitor center had almost guaranteed we would. We did, however,
enjoy bee balm and jewelweed growing next to our feet
and reading several interpretive plaques providing information on how the Cherokee live and relate to the natural world.
The trail comes to an end as it meets the sidewalks
of town, part of the Qualla Boundary. In 1838, the US
government forced 17,000 Cherokee to walk the "Trail
of Tears" to Oklahoma. About 4,000 died along the way.
Close to 1,000 managed to remain in the state by escaping into the mountains. After years of hiding, they were
permitted to establish the boundary (technically different
from a reservation).
The Little Princess Restaurant provided the homecooked breakfast we had missed by starting our walk so


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Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2019

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2019

Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2019 - Intro
Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2019 - Cover1
Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2019 - Cover2
Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2019 - 3
Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2019 - 4
Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2019 - 5
Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2019 - 6
Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2019 - 7
Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2019 - 8
Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2019 - 9
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Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2019 - 11
Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2019 - 12
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Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2019 - 33
Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2019 - 34
Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2019 - 35
Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2019 - 36
Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2019 - 37
Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2019 - 38
Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2019 - 39
Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2019 - 40
Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2019 - 41
Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2019 - 42
Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2019 - 43
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Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2019 - 46
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Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2019 - 74
Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2019 - Cover3
Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2019 - Cover4
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