(Almost) 30 months in the Smokies

Joshua Rosenberg


I’ve been saying for around a year that we’ve lived in Knoxville for two years, but we’re now less than a month from two-and-a-half years, or 30 months, in Knoxville. The thing I like most about living in Knoxville is the proximity to the Smoky Mountains and Great Smoky Mountain National Park. Knoxville is only 45 minutes from the National Park (at least the beginning of the Tremont and Abrams Creek areas; an hour to the Cosby area; and an hour and change to the Elkmont area). Before I forget, I wanted to try to quickly record for posterity some adventures-most with family, some solo, and some with friends-over the last 30 months.

There were others, too: two with Katie and the little one on the Middle Prong Trails; two trips with my friend Alex visiting from Virginia, one from Abrams Creek and one on the West Prong Trail; a run with my friend Sam, visiting from Chicago, on the Middle Prong Trail; a family trip on the Schoolhouse Gap trail; an overnight solo trip at another backcountry site in the Abrams Creek area; and multiple quick trips to the Abrams Creek area. Perhaps at this point I should stop trying to count.

In part because of the age of our child (at first, only a few months; now, around two-and-a-half), in part because it takes awhile to become familiarized with a new region, and then because of COVID, these trips have been our primary form of recreation; we still haven’t been to, for example, Chattanooga or Nashville, and don’t have plans to-for now! We have explored other places locally (the outdoors around Knoxville are really special), especially the Big South Fork and Obed Wild & Scenic Rivers, and the under-rated Frozen Head State Park, where the little one and I camped together for the first time. Those are all a part of the Cumberland Plateau-they’re not a part of the Smokies.

I don’t really have much more to say, other than that I’m extremely grateful for this incredible place one which people, the Cherokee, first, lived on and in for generations (and still do, though in numbers that are a fraction of those who did for generations), and which was taken from them by White settlers who colonized Tennessee (and, earlier, western North Carolina), and then which was taken and also given by the governments of North Carolina and Tennessee to the federal government to establish the National Park. I hope our family and others around Knoxville and the region can care for it in as respectful and responsible way as possible so that others can as we have.

/end sappy post