From the Great Smoky Mountains Photo Safari

 From the Great Smoky Mountains Photo Safari

What a great week it was, bringing 30 RVs to the Roadtreking Great Smoky Mountains for a week of hiking and photographing one of the most beautiful spots in North America.

We keep all of our Roadtreking gatherings to about this number as that is the maximum size (it works out to around 50 people) that can interact and relate to each other. More than that means we need to be way more organized.

And since the main reason my co-host Yan Seiner and I do with is to have fun ourselves, we keep the numbers of rigs to a manageable size.

As we try to do every year with the Photo Safari, this gathering was to sharpen our skills in photography, hiking and appreciating the great outdoors. To that end, we had great instructors – Laura Robinson and Jeff Martyka, two incredibly talented photographer who love to share their knowledge and help us all take better photos. On Monday night, retired National Parks Service Ranger Jim Burnett stopped by to share stories from his 30 years on the job. There was also a spam cookoff, a South Carolina BBQ, a photo contests and lots of campfire visiting each night.

But the main draw was the Great Smoky Mountains National Park and its amazingly beautiful landscapes.

To that end, here are some of the photos our group took this week:

Sharon Burgess shot this from a spot on the Blue Ridge Parkway, Woolyback Overlook, about about a half hour away from our campground
Sharon Burgess shot this from a spot on the Blue Ridge Parkway, Woolyback Overlook, about about a half hour away from our campground
From Mike, one of the many spectacular views of the Smokies
From Mike, one of the many spectacular views of the Smokies
Laura Robinson "shoots" an Elk from along the Oconaluftee River in the Smokies near Cherokee, NC
Laura Robinson “shoots” an Elk from along the Oconaluftee River in the Smokies near Cherokee, NC
"Dirtbagging," or sleeping out deep in the backcountry. Photo from Leanne Czarnecki
“Dirtbagging,” or sleeping out deep in the backcountry. Photo from Leanne Czarnecki
Clouds drift on an over the Smokies
Clouds drift in and over the Smokies
Patti Butkett shot this on the Kephart Prong Trail--a reminder of times past and the people who once lived here.
Patti Burkett shot this on the Kephart Prong Trail–a reminder of times past and the people who once lived here.

 

Laura Hughes captures our photographers doing what they do best in the James Kilmer forest
Laura Hughes captures our photographers doing what they do best in the James Kilmer forest
Jim Blair shot this image of some kids having fun in the rapids of the Oconaluftee
Jim Blair shot this image of some kids having fun in the rapids of the Oconaluftee
Mike and Jennifer's Bo had his own badge (thanks to Jane Dewolf) to lead a group of doggie hikers
Mike and Jennifer’s Bo had his own badge (thanks to Jane Dewolf) to lead a group of doggie hikers
Cindy Blair caught a group of our campers on the visit to the Joyce Kilmer forest
Cindy Blair caught a group of our campers on the visit to the Joyce Kilmer forest
The great doggie hike.... Bo, Logan and Dixie...exploring the Smokies
The great doggie hike…. Bo, Logan and Dixie…exploring the Smokies
Just after sunset from the backcountry - by Yan Seiner
Just after sunset from the backcountry – by Yan Seiner
A pulley system for food to keep the bears away while camping in the backcountry - by Leanne Czarnecki
A pulley system for food to keep the bears away while camping in the backcountry – by Leanne Czarnecki
Akari Seiner applies a blister to hiker Mike Daly during the overnight backpackingcampout
Akari Seiner applies a blister to hiker Mike Daly during the overnight backpacking campout
Julie Luffman drove to an overlook off Highway 441 for this shot
Julie Luffman drove to an overlook off Highway 441 for this shot
There was a photo conest judged by everyone, Grand winner was Bonnie Schwartz
There was a photo contest judged by everyone, Grand winner was Bonnie Schwartz
smdaddylonglegs
Laura Robinson spotted a Daddy Long Legs on this leaf

 

Patti Hall Burkett captured Sharon Burgess hard at work looking for the perfect shot
Patti Hall Burkett captured Sharon Burgess hard at work looking for the perfect shot along this mountain creek
Rhonda Phipps' favorite photo
Rhonda Phipps’ favorite photo
A Smoky Mountain Picnic
A Smoky Mountain Picnic by Laura Robinson
Bo loved wading in the mountain streams
Bo loved wading in the mountain streams
Rick Herman captured the grouo of our intrepid hikers who changed their overnight spot returning from their trip
Rick Herman captured the grouo of our intrepid hikers who changed their overnight spot returning from their trip

Mike Wendland

Mike is a veteran journalist who, with his wife, Jennifer, travels North America in a small motorhome, blogging about the people, places, joys and adventure of RV life on the road. He enjoys camping (obviously), hiking, biking, fitness, photography, kayaking, video editing, and all things dealing with technology and the outdoors. See and subscribe to his RV Lifestyle Channel on YouTube, where he has hundreds of RV and travel related videos. His PC MIke TV reports, on personal technology are distributed weekly to all 215 NBC-TV stations.