Mingus Grist Mill, Great Smoky Mountains NP

It’s all very well visiting grand historic homes and grand museums, but sometimes a very ordinary-looking old structure can grab the imagination and unexpectedly suck you in. That was my experience with the Mingus Grist Mill at Great Smoky Mountains National Park.

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The Appalachian Trail

I remember the first time I heard about the Appalachian Trail. It was in the fall of 1991. Some friends were heading out for an extracurricular weekend of hiking and camping along a portion of something called the Appalachian Trail. I had the opportunity to join them but I hesitated. What kind of trail is this? I inquired. It certainly goes up and down mountains, as a decent trail should, but its main defining feature, I gleaned, is its length. The Appalachian Trail is very, very long—much longer than a trail has any right to be, or so I thought.

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