are guidelines that the Smoky Mountains Hiking Club has developed over
the years that help make for a better outing experience for all concerned.
Some of these things may sound obvious, but all could easily be forgotten
or overlooked. We
do expect all our outing participants to come prepared and equipped.
Doing so will make your outing experience much safer and enjoyable
for you, as well as your fellow hikers. We do not provide any equipment,
or services other than leading the outing. If
you have any questions about what to bring, please contact your outing
Let's get the unpleasant stuff out of the way first. It's
necessary that each person participating in an outing understands and
accepts the fact that there are risks associated with hiking, as well
as traveling to and from the outing. There is always the possibility
of personal injury on any hike. This is especially true of the harder
off-trails and backpacks, but an injury can occur even on a short hike
on a Park trail. Please be aware, upfront, that you are fully
assuming these risks if you choose to participate in a Club outing. The
SMHC, the SMHC Board of Directors, its outing
leaders, and your fellow participants on the outing cannot and
will not be liable for any injuries you incur while on a Club outing. You
will be asked to sign a signup sheet prior to the outing that releases
the Club and the outing leaders from liability in the event of your
injury or death while traveling to or from the outing, or on the outing
Guidelines and Preparations
the outing information available in our newsletter and
website. Check the hike rating and the type of hike, to get an
idea whether you are capable of doing the outing. We have hike
rating information on our website. Also, read up on the hike
in hiking guides.. be knowledgeable!
the contact information in the newsletter and the website, contact
your outing leaders well
in advance of the day of the hike. They will be glad to discuss the
specifics of the outing and route, weather contingencies, and how easy
or difficult the hike will be for you. If you are new to hiking, they
can help you plan. Even if you are a Club member, and/or an old hand
at hiking, it's good for the leaders to have a chance to talk over
the outing with you in advance. If you email them, do so at least a
week in advance of the outing, to give them time to see the email and
respond. If you call, please don't wait until the night before, or
the morning of, the outing! Make it at least two or three days in advance
of the outing.
what clothing, food, water, and gear will be needed for the outing. Contact
an outing leader if uncertain.Always bring suffiicient water along, or water treatment options to purify water on the trail. Always bring a sufficient amount of food along on any hike - you will burn a lot of calories on a long day outing! Make sure you have rain gear as well. Finally, good hiking boots and socks are essential for your comfort and safety in mountain hiking terrain. Get your gear, clothing, and food
together the night before an outing so that you'll be ready to load
up and go in the morning, and you'll be less likely to forget something
you'll need. A good idea is to bring some trash or grocery
bags along to use to contain wetness and dirt from clothing and boots
so your car, or the car of the person you're riding with, will stay
Be aware that the Club, or
the outing leader, reserves the right to cancel or reschedule an outing
due to inclement weather, or other extenuating conditions. Since
we schedule outings as long as sixteen months in advance, it is always
a possibility that conditions on a particular outing route, or on the
roads leading to the trailhead(s) will not permit an outing to be safely
conducted. We recommend that you maintain contact with your
outing leaders before the outing date. If thunderstorms or winter storms
are predicted before, or occurring the early morning of, an outing
date, please contact your outing leaders via phone to confirm the outing
is still going. If the leaders decide to cancel an outing in advance, they will attempt to contact everyone who has been in touch to let them know the outing is canceled.
to the designated meeting place early, ideally fifteen minutes
or so before the meeting time. This will give you an opportunity
to talk with the leaders and your fellow participants, sign the participant
form, and help organize the carpools.
On the outing itself, relax, enjoy the outdoors, and take the opportunity
to ask questions of your leaders and fellow participants. If you
experience any difficulties on the outing, please let one of the leaders
know what is happening so they can help. All SMHC outings will have a front and a rear leader. Hikers should
choose a pace that is comfortable and safe even if the rest of the group
hikes faster. For your safety during hikes, always stay between the
two leaders, and always stay within sight of another hiker if
the group gets spread out.
Club encourages carpooling. Outings should take the
least number of vehicles required to carry the participants to
the trailhead(s) and to conduct key swaps and shuttles.
If you ride with someone else to and from the outing, the Club suggests that you offer to reimburse the driver for gas, at the rate of four cents a mile as a suggested amount.
The hike listings usually will report the round-trip mileages.
Revised March 2016.