Over nine million people included a visit to the Great Smoky Mountains as part of their vacation plans last year. The majority chose to view the mountains from the comfort of their cars or motor homes. Hastily driving through the park, they briefly glimpsed the mountain peaks or passed through Cades Cove annoyed at their slow progress. Without realizing, they have considerably limited their overall experience of what this place has to offer. Covering over 800 square miles, it is obvious only a small percentage can be viewed from the few roads cutting through this wilderness.
Through countless trips and hikes over the years, my love for these mountains has continued to grow. Under the Smoke expresses the effect this place continues to have on my life while sharing its beauty with others. Contained inside are stories of my experiences interspersed with factual anecdotes concerning the people, places, and wildlife of the Smokies.
There are many books on hiking trails or historical places of the Smoky Mountains. However, Under the Smoke adds special insight to help people identify with the mountains on a personal level. Under the Smoke would find a perfect niche alongside other books located on the shelves of visitor centers at the park as well as numerous gift shops and bookstores adorning the streets of surrounding towns. Though written about the Smoky Mountains, it would also be well received beyond the Appalachians for its message is relevant regardless of where the reader’s wilderness might lie.
It is my hope that after reading my book, people would take the time to slow down and appreciate nature. Hopefully, they will pull over, shut the car off and add their own experiences and memories to their wilderness.