We want to thank you for providing excellent service after our recent Appalachian Trail hike through the Smokies. Your staff provided helpful suggestions prior to our trip which helped us to complete a successful hike. We arrived at our pickup location much earlier than anticipated, and when I called, arrangements were made to pick us up early. The shuttle van was clean and comfortable, and our driver, Jaimie, was informative and friendly. We will not hesitate to recommend A Walk in the Woods to our friends! Thank you again for providing great service!
B Johnson 09/16
We took the extended family on a children's nature walk. The two children ages 3 and 5 were hesitant at first but soon were hanging on Sam's every word. The salamanders were the highlight. My daughter-in-law is an elementary school teacher and she was very impressed. I will absolutely schedule a hike the next time we are in Gatlinburg.
C Miller, OH 09/16
Our experience with A Walk in the Woods was phenomenal!! We booked the Hidden Waterfall Retreat! Our guide was Jen and she was amazing!!!!! She taught us so much about the plant and animal life along the way and made it interesting and fun! She even encouraged us to try some fresh blueberries and teaberry plant along the way! She was encouraging when we needed it (it is a pretty vigorous hike for us first-timers). She was patient and let us rest when needed and always had a story to tell us while we rested! The waterfall and woods were beautiful and worth the hike! Can't say enough nice things about Jen!! We would recommend this company to anyone visiting the area!! What an accomplishment when we were done!!! Sparked an interest in hiking for me! Keep up the awesome work!!!!
DC, MO 8/16
Thank you so much for an adventure to remember! Our guide Blue was a pleasure to be with on our 3 day hike. We originally thought we would go on our own, but with little experience, it was absolutely a good decision to go with a guide. A Walk in the Woods provided the perfect guide. He pointed out beautiful and useful plants and was very intuitive about the pace we were capable of. Blue made our trip an exciting trip to remember! I would choose their expert services again in a second!
KT, TX 8/16
Vesna, I have to tell you my wife and I thoroughly enjoyed ourselves today because of your two guides. Our day started with Sam wonderful lady with excellent knowledge. We then went with Blue and what a great time we had. He was wonderful as well. Please pass along our complements to both!! When we come back to Gatlinburg we will definitively be doing at least a walk and a hike with A Walk in the Woods!!! Thank you again.
This past weekend we enjoyed 2 fantastic walks/hikes with Matt. We met him on Saturday for the waterfalls and natural pools walk where we learned so much about the plant life and wild life in that area. On Sunday we met Matt again for the Courthouse Rock Hike . We were able to see some amazing views of the Sugarland Valley and again learned more about the plant and wildlife in the area as well as the history of that land. Matt was very informative and we enjoyed spending time with him. We were able to enjoy our hikes feeling confident that he was very familiar with the area and kept us informed of any dangers (poison ivy, stinging nettle, yellow jackets). We have already recommended this group to a few friends and intend to contact them again when we return to the GSM for another hike. Thanks again Matt.
Angel, TN 7/16
Jen is terrific guide...very knowledgable and friendly and made sure us and our kids were enjoying our hike while learning. We saw at least six waterfalls, discovered native plants, and learned about animal habitats. Thanks for a wonderful morning!
Theresa, PA 7/16
Hi Erik and Vesna, My son, Brendan, and his friends had a most excellent adventure with Matt and Haley!!! I just received a handwritten thank you note from the brothers, Alec and Hunter, who were among the group. Said Alex, "This has been the highlight of my summer - maybe my life! It loved the hikes . . . like never before. Matt seemed like a friend I had known for years." All the boys agreed Matt and Haley were very friendly, down-to-earth, and wonderfully informative, whether teaching the boys about snares, fishing, or finding nature's salad for a meal. All the boys wanted to stay out there for a month. However, in close proximity when I picked them up, I wondered whether the wildlife was thinking, Enough already. You guys hit the showers! Again, a big thanks to A Walk in the Woods from all of us!
We truly enjoyed Jamie´s Salamander tour from A Walk In The Woods. Jamie is a very experienced guide who shows her passion for nature through teaching others. She is excellent with our 8 and 9 year olds, keeping them engaged throughout our 4 hour tour. We caught and identified half a dozen types of salamanders, saw a variety of crawlers, in addition to learning about different kinds of trees in the forest. We highly recommend this tour to anyone but especially to family with young children!! Our Night Walk tour with Samantha was really fun and educational. Our children were fascinated by the history telling. We learned about fire flies, aka Flashing Beatles, and black bears in the woods. Sam encouraged us to explore the woods using all of our five senses. At the end of the walk, we became more connected to nature than we have ever been.
Shuwei, NH 07/16
6-24-16 We attended a nature walk and tour of the great Smoky mountains thru a time share vacation in Gatlinburg. It was a wonderful and relaxing experience. Vesna was very knowledgeable and kind. There were children, handicapped and elderly and International guests included on this event and all were taken very good care of and I feel came away with a deep appreciation of your beautiful mountains. Thank you for a memorable afternoon.
Bonita, PA 06/16
Just a note to let you know how much we enjoyed both of our guided walks last week. Both Jen and Sam were great. Our kids loved it too.
Melanie S., Domestic Goddess 06/16
Hi Sam - Before any more time goes by, I want to thank you for everything you did to make our trip to GSMNP so fantastic! Jack and I had a wonderful and memorable backpacking trip and feel like you created a diverse itinerary for us that highlighted several aspects of the park. We are very grateful!! Thanks also to Sara and Blue for the shuttles. It was a pleasure to chat with both of them. I write a blog under the pseudonym of Kathleen Ford and just posted some pictures plus a shout-out to you guys: http://kathleenford.blogspot.com/2016/06/backpacking-great-smoky-mount ains.html Also attaching one of our favourite photos of us on the AT. Sending lots of good wishes. I hope you have a great summer!
Debbie M. 06/16
Just wanted to thank y'all for a backpacking trip that is one of my most favorite adventures. The Smoky Mountains are just gorgeous in the fall and even the rain could not dampen or take away from a wonderful weekend. And then add to that a wonderful guide and you have the makings of a perfect trip. Jaimie is incredible!! She taught us not only the basics of backpacking, but taught us about the plants and animals that call the Smokies home and how we can be responsible visitors in their home. Her > love for the Smokies was contagious. I can not wait to come back! See ya next year!
Barb L 06/16
Hello, my name is Melinda Young. My three girlfriends and I hiked/camped out overnight at Newfound Gap Trail in Smoky Mountains on Saturday, April 23, 2016 and back afternoon on Sunday, April 24, 2016. I would like to direct my testimonial to the owners of "A Walk in the Woods" and everyone reading my testimonial. What a great company, every person there has been awesome and very patient with all our concerns. As our hike/camp out, it was awesome! I'm glad we trained and prepared as much as I did because this truly challenged me to my limits, both physical and mental. It was well worth the effort! Our guide, River Blue, is one cool guy. He taught us how to pick out the correct backpack and gear, how to pack it and put it on. He helped us to not over-pack the backpack…reminding us what we carry up we will have to carry down the mountain. He didn’t baby us at all, which was what we needed in order to learn. River Blue let us know he was born/raised in the Smoky Mountain area…and he is extremely knowledgeable about the park trails, the plants and the history. He did an excellent job in guiding us and making our camping trip so enjoyable by stopping and showing us the little things that we would have missed otherwise. His ability to talk about the history was very much appreciated considering all of us are old history buffs. We felt very comfortable in his skills and ability to safely guide us and it allowed us to relax and enjoy the adventure. The weather was great (a little chilly Saturday night into Sunday morning, he built another fire and created a hot water bottle to warm up the ones freezing). Thanks again for an awesome adventure. Looking forward to coming back and definitely was River Blue to be our guide.
Our hiking/camping trip was a truly enjoyable experience. Our guide was Blue and he is absolutely amazing! He was a wealth of knowledge sharing information about the plants, history and hiking trails. Our trip was fun, relaxed and safe. Blue helped us create a memory we will forever cherish. Thank all of you at "A Walk in the Woods" and a special thank you to Blue!
Hi I just wanted to contact you and let you know how my husband Jerry and I appreciated your trip planning for our first backpacking expedition in the smokies. It was a wonderful adventure and more than challenging enough for the two of us. We were very tired by the end of the three days. We enjoyed the trail, the views, and the campsites. Thank you and we hope to use your services again in the future.
Janice H. 04/16
Hey guys, I just wanted to send a quick thank you note and compliment to Charles. I thoroughly enjoyed my Backpacking 101 trip this past weekend. Great trail, incredible views, and fine company. Charles was knowledgeable, helpful, and attentive to every detail. The trip was fantastic, and I would gladly recommend Charles and your team to anyone looking to gain confidence in their backpacking skills while learning great tips for experiencing the Smokies. Can't wait to use you guys again!
Don A. 04/16
We went on the Exploring Nature With Children this morning with our guide, River, and our 3 kids, ages 8, 5, and 2. It was AMAZING. River was wonderful with our kids; he took the time to explain things in a way they could understand, and helped them experience the Smoky Mountains in a way my husband and I could not on our own. The hike was the perfect length of time and distance, and worth every penny. It was definitely the highlight of our trip. Thank you!
:I have used Walk in The Woods several times before for shuttle services on backpacking trips. Always friendly, informative and most importantly on time. Last weekend we had planned to use them for a shuttle involving 441. Unfortunately 441 was closed due to snow but they stuck with us all morning long to see if the road was going to open. Finally had to cancel and go to "plan B". They did not charge us for the trip although they spent time and effort to try and make it happen. What more could one ask from a shuttle service! If you need a dependable shuttle service call them.
Robert, NC 03/16
Greetings, I just wanted to send a note concerning one of your guides, Jaimie. My friend and I met Jaimie and her client on the AT Friday and encountered them at several points along the way including lunch at Ice Water Springs. She was very friendly and informative; a pleasure to talk with and even as an experienced hiker, I learned some new things about the Smokies. If she is an example of your business, I would not hesitate to recommend your services.
Rick S. 01/16
I cannot say enough good things about our hike today. Our guide was Blue, and we thoroughly enjoyed every minute of it! He was so knowledgeable, helpful and kind. We will definitely come back soon for another hike! Thank you for everything! :)
Sonya, TN 12/15
My wife & I recently did a trip from Clingmans Dome to Cades Cove. The shuttle arrived early & our driver was a wealth of knowledge about the trip we had planned. She was able to provide an accurate weather forecast & had intimate knowledge of the trails we would be hiking. This was very helpful in preparing for the terrain & water sources. I would highly recommend this company for anyone planning a trip to the Smoky Mountain backcountry.
Gary, NC 11/15
I first want to thank you so much for the most enjoyable walk I had on Friday with Samantha!! You were right when you said I would enjoy it because of the history she knows. I can't wait for future walks with her or another employee. It was my first hike/walk ever like this before. I just love the history and the beautiful mountains that you guys are so blessed to live around everyday! ... And the van ride, wow!, another awesome experience with her. Thanks again A Walk in the Woods!! The memory will be forever engraved!!
WOW! I just wanted to follow up my weekend with a note to "A Walk in the Woods". Our hike/camping was awesome!. I'm glad I trained and prepared because this truly challenged me to my limits, both physical and mental. But so well worth the effort! Our guide, Charles Savidge, is one cool guy. Very knowledgeable about the trails, the plants and the history. He did an excellent job in guiding us and making the trip so enjoyable by stopping and showing us the little things that we would have missed otherwise. His ability to talk about the history was very much appreciated considering all of us are old history buffs. We felt very comfortable in his skills and ability to safely guide us and it allowed us to relax and enjoy the adventure. The weather was great (a little chilly Friday and Saturday night) with no rain and plenty of sunshine. Thanks again for an awesome adventure. Looking forward to coming back to see where Charles can lead us to next time!
Just wanted to thank y'all for a backpacking trip that is one of my most favorite adventures. The Smoky Mountains are just gorgeous in the fall and even the rain could not dampen or take away from a wonderful weekend. And then add to that a wonderful guide and you have the makings of a perfect trip. Jaimie is incredible!! She taught us not only the basics of backpacking, but taught us about the plants and animals that call the Smokies home and how we can be responsible visitors in their home. Her love for the Smokies was contagious. I can not wait to come back! See ya next year! Just wanted to say "Thanks for the memories" . I so so much enjoyed our walk in the woods. The Smoky's are gorgeous, but it was the companionship that made the most memorable moments. You guys are the best and I am so grateful for the support that you gave me. May the adventures in your future hold as many warm memories as this one! PS Jaimie, can you send us the poem you read at the end of the trail? It was wonderful. I have been back at work for a week and already ready to head back to the woods!
I've been backpacking in the smokies for 20 plus years and have never used a shuttle service until now. I learned more about the mountains in our 45 minute ride from Vesna than I ever knew. I will never do another trip without using a walk in the woods services. Thanks for a great experience.
Ted, IN 10/15
My friend Wen Xu had a great time and pleasant experiences in Great Smoky Mountain with your tour, we thank you so much for your great services and you have wonderful guides, really appreciate, I look forward to meeting you too some day. Best regards.
FL, China 10/15
I took a 3-night backpacking trip with Erik and Tilly in Sept. 2015. It was my first experience doing such a thing and I am itching to go back. The friendship, scenery, and weather were second to none, but Erik and Tilly's guidance is what really stood out. Erik is the Willy Wonka of the Smokies - he can tell you everything about the woods and has a great passion for what he does. They took care of us, taught us, showed us amazing things, and were wonderful companions to boot.
Wildfire, OH 9/15
I had completed (2) walks with your service in late September. Although the weather was a little bit wet. I enjoyed the professionalism and enthusiasm for hiking by your staff. I met "Blue" and "Sam" two of the nicest people I have met this year. I hope they have a great rest of the year and keep on smiling! The hikes were very enjoyable and informative, not fast paced or rushed! Thanks again.
My son and I took a 4 day 3 night backpacking trip in this incredibly beautiful park. The trails were well marked and the trails that A Walk in the Woods planned for us were amazing. Now I know why Gunter Fork Trail has a section called "Hell". Thank you for the excellent adventure and I would recommend your services to everyone.
Rocco, FL 9/15
Hello, My name is M Blan. My husband and I recently took a walk with one of your guides, Samantha, on Thursday, March 12th. I simply had to write to let you know what a wonderful experience that was. She is amazing!! She is so knowledgeable and enthusiastic about the area. She was so kind. My husband had broken his leg in October and just got out of the cast in January. While waiting for my husband to use the restroom before leaving the visitor center she asked me if he needed a walking stick. I wasn't sure if he would be too proud to use it since he was with 2 ladies. She told me that she would take it with her and if I saw that he needed it she would just casually give it to him to "hold" for her. She was so considerate of his pride. It touched me deeply. She was always conscious of keeping a pace that was easy for him. She watched his body language and knew just when to stop and rest while she gave us information about the area. I cannot say enough nice things about her. When the walk was over it was like leaving a friend. We will be walking with you guys in the future. I want to thank you and your company for the service you provide. It was the highlight of our stay. We have walked with you in the past and we have always had such professional service. You have a gift for finding remarkable people to lead these tours. My husband and I travel each year for our anniversary. We have been married for 17 years and we have never found a company in any industry that provides a more memorable, consistent or professional service than yours. Thank you so much for all that you do.
M Blan 3/15
Hi Sam - Please pass a thank you along to your team. You all did an outstanding job and we were very impressed with A Walk In The Woods! Both groups had a lot of fun on both the Waterfall tour and A Stroll Back In Time. They were very informative, hands-on, and interesting. The guides were top-notch. Thank you for a great experience! Sincerely,
R.A.S. Delivery Services, 3/15
A huge thanks to your company amd your guide Mike for making out backpacking experience a great one. I learned so much and the whole experience was demystified for us. Mike was patient, funny, and full of knowledge and skills that he happily shared with us. Beyond the "how to" it was great to learn about the plants, animals, and general environment of the Smokies. Adena and I are ready to start planning our next backpacking adventure. I can't wait for my Girl Scout troops to get a little older so I can take them on a backpacking trip. I will be recommending your company. Thanks again!
Mike and Billy were exceptional! Their depth of knowledge about the park (including history, trees, plants, animals, safety, etc) and National Park system was impressive. They shared their knowledge along the trail and at camp. They answered all of our questions.
Thanks for such a wonderful trip. Great service, educational, lots of fun...and stunning natural beauty in the Smokies!
Dear Vesna, What a great trip with 4 very fine women. It was a great pleasure to meet you and I so appreciate the great care you showed me with my pre trip injuries. I learned so much about the Smoky Mountains, backpacking, and about myself and I would do it again in a heartbeat! I will be recommending "A Walk In The Woods" to anyone I know who wants to visit the Smokies!! Most sincerely,
Sally G, 5/14
Hi there. Just wanted to say thanks for the amazing trip. We had a really good time. We also really enjoyed having Mike as a guide. Such a great guy and he taught us so much about the park and how to conduct ourselves in the nature. It really was the best vacation I have ever taken with my boys. Please forward him the link to the pictures. I realized we never got one with all of us so that means we'll have to come back next summer!Thanks again.
Just wanted to thank you guys for great time on the hike I will recommend this trip to anyone. Hope you have a great season.
Mike A, 4/14
A Walk in the Woods and their AMAZING guide Jaimie, gave us the best memories of our week long trip in the Smokey Mountains!! We were two families with six girls ages 12 yrs old through 4 yrs old, a total group of ten, of which Jaimie responded to phenomenally! All of the girls were completely in sync with Jaimie, so enthusiastic to listen to all her facts and stories, and so excited to follow her through two days of amazing hikes. She was excellent with each of the girls and adults. We ended 2013 with an incredible hiking journey on unmaintained, tricky trails leading us through the edge of the mountain to the breathtaking Spruce Flat Falls. We couldn't have spent our days any better than we did with Jaimie and her tours through the Smokey Mountains. We are eternally thankful to her and A Walk in the Woods. It is an absolute must while in Tennessee!!!!!!
Borges, FL 12/13
What a great trip backpacking in the Smoky Mountains. We had a great time on our three day, two night trip. Jaimie was a great guide. Her knowledge of the area plants and animals as well as history really added to the enjoyment of the trip. She was also great at heating up a fantastic Mountain House meal. The route was just the right speed and distance every day. The October colors were peaking in the higher elevations and the fall temperatures were perfect. I would really recommend the trip.
Jim and Taylor, TX 10/13
I just wanted to let you know how much we enjoyed our walk! It was great and samantha made us all comfortable and had wonderful knowledge she shared with us. It was definitely the highlight of our trip. I look forward to booking with your company again and requesting Samantha! We are even thinking of a overnight trip. And I'm sad the govt shutdown affected you all and that beautiful park. I never thought about that. All 3 of us are federal employees and thankfully we are safe for right now. It's so scary! Thanks again!
If you are an experienced hiker, you will appreciate the advice Erik and Vesna can give you on park conditions. Our group has been hiking twice a year in the park for the past 10 trying to complete all the trails. This past spring, we were scheduled to do Balsam Mountain via Gunter Fork. As Erik drove us to the trailhead in a downpour, he asked where we were going. When we told him, he paused and said "just remember these creeks come up fast and go down fast." Prescient. Gunter Fork was in full flood. After several hairy crossings we came to Big Creek, stepped in, remembered Erik's advice and pitched camp. The next morning we forded a creek that was swift but a foot or two lower.
Kirby, TN 9/13
Vesna... I wanted to tell you what an AWESOME trip I had up to Mt LeConte with Sam..she was inspiring and had so much knowledge about the Smokies both in history and all the flora...I told her she could get lost and live in the Smokies on what she knows about the plants....me I would have to eat trail mix :) Please thank her for me and also thank you for your Walk in the Woods! I also posted a review on Trip Advisor and gave you 5. (wish I could have given a 10!
Thank you so much for the shuttle service. It was a great experiance. Driver was very informative and was on time. We needed an early out at Newfound Gap. I called and we had a ride to town with in a hour of our call. I will be using you guys again very soon.
Matt, IN 9/13
Vesna, I wanted to let you know about our trip in July. You picked me and my friend up at Noon and raced us to the other side of the park. You were amazing. You gave us a break down of all our days. You were spot on all the days were fairly challenging. We never struggled to finish a day but every day we were glad to get to camp. We saw three bears (a mom and 2 cubs ) our first day. We were on our way up the mountain from Fontana Dam and stopped at campsite 113 to eat and get some water. We were picking up and getting ready to go and hear them coming up from the woods. They got to about 50-75 yards away saw us and took a do left. It was close enough for us to be excited but safe. We were rock star amongst our fellow hikers for the rest of our trip. Speaking of rock stars you were spot on about being nearly famous at Clingmans Dome and Newfound. I also realized how lazy American are at both sites. At Newfound we were getting back on the trail and got a picture by the milage sign that says Maine …. well then literally 5 families got pictures of us, not them but of us with the sign pretty funny. It energized us and we really had a good laugh and hike the rest of the day. Everyone we met were amazing people and found everyone very interesting. In the end I want to hike more of the trail and longer sections. My feet were done from our aggressive hike 5.5 days 80 miles. My feet swelled up so much on the last couple days that my boots didn't really fit correctly. So I have learned a lot and had a great time doing it. Thank you for your help with information and quick drive to Fontana. Thanks Again!
We look forward to our annual vacation in the Smokies and again used AWITW for one of our hikes this year. We see and learn things we don't know or notice when self-guiding. Susan was excellent. We hope to be back next August and, if so, will do another walk with your service. (We're not campers, but Susan even got us to consider the beginners overnight trip.)
Steve & Kelly, MI 8/13
We had a wonderful walk in the woods with Jaimie during our vacation in the Smokey's. We had some wonderful talks as we walked and I feel like she should be a part of my family now. Please let her know I would love to hear from her about any future adventurous hikes she takes! She is very interesting to listen to and very educated on her facts of nature. I will always remember our friendly tailgater who was in a hurry because she had to be at work later in the day. :) Thank you for the memories. !
Kim and Greg, IN 8/13
HEY VESNA. YOU SHUTTLED US FROM NEWFOUND GAP TO WESTGATE RESORT LAST WEDNESDAY. JUST WANTED TO SAY THANK YOU FOR YOUR SERVICES AND ESPECIALLY FOR GIVING US THE REAL DEAL ON THE INS AND OUTS OF THE AT. WE BOTH APPRECIATE YOUR NATUARLIST EXPERTISE AND YOUR KNOWLEDGE OF THE WILDERNESS IN THE SMOKIES. WE WILL DEFINITLEY USE YOU NEXT YEAR. A WALK IN THE WOODS SHUTTLE SERVICE IS œRIGHT ON!
David and Jacob, 7/13
Hello from Texas! Last week my son and I backpacked the AT from Davenport to Fontana, and we used your service to shuttle us from the dam to Davenport. I wanted to email you about Jamie, the young woman who drove us. She was amazing! This was our first backpacking experience, and she was crucial in the success of our week in the Smokies. Not only did she educate us on the plants, animals, trail etiquette, etc..., she repacked our packs and got us ready for the rain. Without her our trip would have been a disaster - full of wet sleeping bags and clothes. Instead, we had the trip of a lifetime. Please pass this email on and let her know that we had a memorable week, saw bears, views, and can't wait to come back. We will definitely recommend your service in the future. Thanks so much!
Sally, TX 7/13
Wow, what a great morning! We hiked the unmaintained "man way" along a mountain stream with Mike and it was wonderful. Mike was great with my 5 grandchildren. They learned a great deal and were entertained for the entire trip. They are ages 5 through 13. This was the perfect hike for our group; I appreciate the help in choosing it.
TRM, OH 7/13
Hello Erik and Vesna, I wanted to let you know how much my friend and I enjoyed our guided hike to Courthouse Rock with Mike. He provided us with a great experience for our first hike in the Smokies. His knowledge of the area, history, ecology and so forth is very impressive and we left him better prepared for future hiking experiences. Mike was also mindful of our pace and safety. In addition to the great hiking experience of the day, he also provided information on a couple other points of interest within the park, which we also visited. All of this has made for a great vacation! Thank you so much for providing this sevice. Sincerely,
Vesna , I ran into a mother & son from Texas. They were hiking the A.T. from Davenport Gap back to Fontana. They said your service shuttled them from Fontana to Davenport Gap. I can't recall the name of your driver, but they said she was so nice. Gave them helpful tips for their hike and helped them repack their bags as it was raining when they started. You should be proud of your employees as these hikers gave your driver a glowing review. I believe she said you had picked them up last Tuesday / maybe Wednesday, I met them at Derrick Knob on Saturday night, and they had planned on Mollies Ridge for Sunday night and to exit Monday sometime. Anyway, great job and if you can figure out who your driver was, pass along the fact that the hikers were singing praises for her.
Mark G., TN 7/13
I just wanted to let you know what an amazing time we had with Charles on our hike today. The kids were enamored with his knowledge of the mountains and talked his head off! We experienced the beauty of the mountains in a completely new way and learned a lot as well. My husband owns his independent pharmacy and is going home with a ton of compounding ideas! :) We will definitely be scheduling another adventure with you the next time we are in the Smokies and will send our friends and family your way too! Thank you, again. It was a great ending to our trip!
Liege F, 6/13
Vesna, Now that we are back home in Chicago, I have a second to send our thanks and our report of our 5 days and 4 night hike. I think that we are ready to give up life in the city and live off the Trail. Any chance you need a family of four to join your company? :) We had a wonderful time. I am so grateful to you for your insights and encouragement during our shuttle ride to the trail head. Everyday one of us would say -- Remember Vesna said we would see this! Your words carried us through. Our little girls were such good sports and made it through every hike in great time. We were spared any injury bigger than scraped knees and sore muscles. And we only had to pull out the ponchos on our first hike to campsite 9. Basically, we couldn't have asked for a better hike. Thanks to God. We saw lots of animals and heard the roar of a bear (just once). Thanks again for your help in our adventure! We want to return to the Smokies as often as possible. You might just hear from us again. All our best,
Sara, Joe, Libby and Jenna S, IL 6/13
Our family took an "Experiencing nature with children" hike. Our group consisted of several small children and adults ages 3 - 70. Our guide Samantha was well educated and informative about our beautiful surroundings and the history of the area. She kept the children entertained with fun facts and games; introducing them to many things in nature interesting to see, smell, and in a few cases, even taste. I can't say enough about how friendly and knowledgeable she was. This walk in the woods was a joy for the entire group.
Ben, GA 6/13
I was able to change the pickup time and place at the last minute in order to deal with stressed knees coming off Clingman's Dome. Thanks to Erik's flexible schedule my group's AT experience was a great success. And I thoroughly enjoyed Erik's vast knowledge of wild edibles, which is an interest of mine as well.
David, AL 6/13
Vesna, Thanks again for your help in setting up our hike. Charles was a a great guide, we enjoyed hearing about the history of the park, the local animals and plants. And the waterfall was beautiful. He kept us moving at a good pace and also had an excellent recommendation for dinner, the Front Porch in Crosby. Our hike was a highlight of our trip. Thank you.
Hello, I just wanted to tell you my hike on May 27, was great. My guide was friendly and informative. The hike was a challenge. The waterfall was incredible. I was able to get a great picture. I hope to return to Gatlinburg a gone on another hike. Thanks so much!
This trip was the experience of a lifetime...one not to be forgotten! My Aunt and I did the one night backpack, and it rained the entire time. Despite this, our wonderful guide Mike, and the fabulous intern, Zach made the trip not only an invaluable learning experience, but gobs of fun as well! I'm actually glad it rained...I feel much more prepared for my own trips now. We even managed to have a campfire! Mike was very knowledgeable not only on backpacking, but also on the history of the area, as well as the beautifully diverse flowers and trees that are so abundant in the seemingly "enchanted forests" of the Great Smokies. I hope to be able to go on more trips in the future. (hopefully with a little less rain).
Jenn, NC 4/13
Just wanted to thank Erik and Sam for helping me with rides to and from Hot Springs. Due to
a family medical emergency I called late in the day for a ride the next day(a sunday) and Erik
came through for me. I very much enjoyed our conversation during the ride about guiding
hikers, nutrition and stretching. Erik is a valuable asset to hikers in the Smokies. A Walk in
the woods is a first rate organization and I wish them success as they continue to develop a
top notch guide service and more.
Turtur (AT Thru hiker) 04/2013
|Thanks again, had a great Trip. I appreciate the part you played. Even
Ridge Runner we met had nothing but good things to say about you, I
def be a reference and refer you to any and all. Have a good one,
C. M. 03/2013
I just wanted to let you know how much my boyfriend and I enjoyed our
Walk in the Woods experience on Saturday. Our guide, Mike, was
phenomenal and it was so pleasant spending two hours with him. Though
I grew up in Knoxville and have spent time in the mountains, A Walk in
the Woods opened my mind to the people who lived there before and the
wide variety of plants and animals in the park. Do you all have a
TripAdvisor site to which I can add my praise? If so, let me know, as
anyone visiting the Smokies should definitely know about your
organization and support it. Thank you so much!
Cassidy D. 02/2013
|Dear Vesna, Erik and Samantha,
I want to thank you so much for your support in working with me and my son, jonathan. I was
comforted on Friday that Erik was there to shuttle him (and a fellow hiker) from Newfound
Gap to the hotel in Gatlinburg. Jonathan seems to be doing well but his emotional parents will
hopefully get stronger as this adventure continues. A special thanks to Samantha for her
assistance on the phone in obtaining the necessary park permit. Jonathan was caught
between the GSMNP going from paper permits to on-line permits. Samantha was there to
offer support and help me solve the problem. Thank you for the weather updates and
suggestions for hiking in the area.
I will highly recommend your services to any future hikers.
Roanoke, VA 02/2013
|Dear Vesna, Erik & company,
I know you have plenty of positive feedback on your web site, but here's
one more. We are completely satisfied customers, having used your
company's services for 2 walks during our vacation in the Smokies. Mike
led both of our hikes and his knowledge of & love for all things outdoors
couldn't have been more evident. He was a great guide! And the small
waterfalls and pools hike in particular was something we couldn't have put
together ourselves with weeks of research. Fabulous!
Thanks and we look forward to a chance to hike with your team again.
Steve & Kelly 08/2012
|Vesna! Wow, what a week. Challenging, beautiful, it had everything. Thank you so much.
Just to let you know, we did check Gunter Fork over and above this sign and we did have to
go across Sterling Ridge and over Swallow Fork. No problem though, that was absolutely
gorgeous, especially coming down Swallow Fork, end of the day! Wow. Lisa and I agree, our
favorite was camp sight 44. It was mythical. It was almost like a description out of J.R.R.
Tolkein's "The Hobbit" trilogy. The wild flowers were in bloom. It was awesome!
Michael and Lisa F, 08/2012
My family did the "Exploring Nature with Children" last Thursday morning at
9 am and our guide was Cindy. We were so lucky to have such a wonderful
and knowledgeable guide. I mentioned to her at the end of our trip that
I'd like to get her business card but we forgot all about it (so I don't
even know her last name).
Can you please ask her where she got the trail mix she gave us? They're
nuts with M&Ms and so yummy (our own mix!).
~ Denden K, 08/2012
We had a great time on our tour!!!! I want to thank Cindy, she was great for taking us after
her first tour since we got there so late we will definitely recommend you to our friends and
family. We will plan more trips with you in the future.
We were picked up right on time. Our driver, Vesna I think, gave us a wealth
Tony, IN 08/2012
of information. Her weather forecast was right on the money, unfortunately for us. The rain
hit just as we were told, lol.
I highly recommend them for the shuttle service. I have used them twice.
My family had done many day
hikes in other national parks such as Glacier and Yosemite. We wanted
to gain that next level of experience "backpacking" and decided to go
with REI in the Great Smokey Mountains along the Appalachian Trail.
was great! We experienced a taste of what it would be like to
thru hike the trail. We also learned enough that we feel confident we
could do overnight backpacking trips on our own now. Our guides,
and Michael were are just great people. They are professional,
friendly, confident, and knowledgeable.
R Jones, 07/2012
Thanks for the ride last week. I still say it was the most interesting car lesson I've had in the
State of Tennessee second only to riding with my Father. We had a great hike in the AT. It rained the afternoon of our third day and soaked us
thoroughly. However, our fourth day was a "lay over" at Campsite 29, so we spend most of it
We were actually fortunate to have our itinterary changed to get us off the trail and spend
some nights at the Campsites. We would have never seen the beautiful streams/creeks up
on the crest of the mountains that we did at Campsites 36 and 29. We're always looking for ways to reduce weight in our packs, and you seem to have
some really good ideas when talking with us at Newfound Gap.
Thank you again for an educational and very memorable drive,
Dan G, LA 06/2012
|Dear Vesna & friends of A Walk in the Woods,
I want to express my sincere gratitude for how WONDERFUL our backpacking
trip was with Mike. It was absolutely everything I had hoped it would be
and more! I am so thankful to A Walk in the Woods. Your personal touch and
attention to detail made the whole experience easy and fun. I really
appreciated the quality of the gear we rented too. Mike was such a great
guide. He taught us many skills that we can take with us to go on
self-guided backpacking trips in the future and was a constant source of
good conversation and leadership. We couldn't have asked for anything more.
Thank you for a great experience and we hope to be back some day!
Alana & Matt 05/2012
|We want to say that we had a great time with Sam today. She was very friendly and
informative. We were glad that we could include you in our vacation plans here in Gatlinburg.
Keith & Judy Bauman 05/2012
I wanted to thank you so much for our wonderful trip. You took such great care of us and I
am inspired by your lifestyle, your kindness, and passion for what you do. Thank you for
re-kindling a love for hiking and in general the outdoors inside of me. This definitely won't be
the last backpacking trip I take. Thank you!
|Vesna, here's a copy for you. Charles was excellent on Monday, and Mike was everything we could have asked for in a guide. The
walks were a highlight of our week in the Smokies. Thanks.
Hi Mike, I wanted to tell you again what a wonderful day we had with you in Smoky Mountain National Park on Wednesday, on the trail
to Ramsey Falls. We enjoyed getting to know you, and hearing your lore and stories about the park, and what's known about it (and
not known!). Your enthusiam, knowlege and passion were infectious.
We especially enjoyed your cheerful enthusiasm, and your rapport with Coby. You certainly have a skill with teenagers, which made
the day especially enjoyable for all of us.
Again, our thanks, and the best of luck to you.
David (and Susan and Coby) 04/2012
|Vesna, Great trip. The hike was harder than we thought it would be but we are all
desk-jockeys during the week. Mike is obviously an expert in many facets of
nature and hiking in general but even more importantly he's a
wonderful hiking companion and cabin mate. All the group thought LeConte is
something we want to do again and we will call A Walk in the Woods to guide
us ...Thanks for putting together such a quality experience.
Greg Sullivan 04/2012
|Thank you for the great shuttle service you provided. You were 30 minutes early
and provided a wealth of knowledge about the Smokey Mountains,during the ride back to our
vehicle. Great friendly, reliable service!! I will be sure to use this service again, as well as
recommend you to everyone. Great Job!!
My girlfriend and I shared a wonderful afternoon with
another couple and our tour guide Mike, who was incredibly nice and
knowledgeable about the park and all the flora and fauna contained
therein. We couldn't have asked for a better time hiking through the
national park! We called the number provided and left a message,
was returned later that afternoon. We were able to book the "Wildflower" guided tour for the next day and left a credit card
number to secure the reservation. We received detailed and simple
directions to our rendezvous point at the entrance of the park. After
we arrived, we met Mike and the other couple and proceeded to drive
deeper into the park. Our walk proceeded at a leisurely pace and our
friendly tour guide taught us a great deal about every imaginable
aspect of our journey. We visited an old graveyard, a
cleverly-constructed barn, and various other buildings and
Our group walked along a rushing stream and crossed over a rail
into the most incredible mountainside scene you can imagine. Flowers
were at an early peak and we were bestowed with a heavenly view where
the hills were absolutely blanketed with white wildflowers and
butterflies. Mike was absolutely perfect and outstanding in his role
as a tour guide. He was extremely knowledgeable, gentle, and
By the time our walk was over, we had created a unique bond with the
other people on our tour. I give this company my highest possible
recommendation and I will definitely be seeking their services again
in the future! Well done! Be sure to give Mike a raise or a bonus!
Shane, Tennessee 03/2012
I participated on the "Natural Pools and Waterfalls Walk" with Vesna and was so
pleased. The walk was absolutely breathtaking and refreshing. In addition to enjoying the
scenery, Vesna taught me so much. She is amazingly knowledgeable about the area from
plants, animals, old civilization, etc. I was so excited that I took notes on my iPhone because
I wanted to remember it all. I told her that I wish history would have been as engaging when I
was younger. What a great company! When I visit again, I will surely call on "A Walk in the
Stacia, Atlanta, GA 03/2012
If you have small children TAKE THEM ON A GUIDED HIKE DESIGNED FOR
CHILDREN. Just do it! You can't duplicate this experience at home, in Cub Scouts, etc.
We're coming back this summer and are looking for a little more adventure. A Walk in the
Woods is a guaranteed piece of our summer vacation.
Chris, St. Louis, MO 02/2012
Last year I was with you in April....third weekend in April?....I think it
was called the wild flower walk. AND, I learned so much about wild flowers
and also nature, backpacking and life! (Thank you.)
I'm happy to be on exactly the same trip this year...beginner, walk in the
woods, a great hike, don't really know what you're doing but love learning
everything you can, and you come home sooooo happy!!! It was great.
If I may share with you... when I'm stressed, freaked out, tense, don't
know what to do...I close my eyes and go to my tent in the Smokey Mountains
and the most wonderful sleep of peace I've ever had or I go to the edge or
the stream where I calmly and quietly purified water or to breakfast of
coffee and hot chocolate mixed together, in the rain, and happier than I've
ever been... and it always calms me.
And, when I'm scared..I go back to that time that I put my BARE feet in
that freezing, rushing, wild water and know, Mary Pat, you can do it!!
Vesna, I hope you always know how you effect people and the wonderful thing
you are doing. It may seem like a "Walk in the Woods" to you but it was a
life changing weekend for me. Thank you.
And I can't wait to do it, in any capacity, again!
Mary Pat 01/2012
|A big thank you for services rendered for my trip. Right on time and
my driver was great.
Thanks again and keep up the good work.
Mike and Jaimie's knowledge of the Smoky Mountains was just
amazing. They showed us all of the basics of backpacking and food
preparation, bear safety and answered all of our questions as they
came up. Just a great time out in the woods.
Rodger G 10/2011
|Dear Walk in the Woods:
This is just to say we had fabulous time with Charles. His awareness
of botany and natural history will answer to anyone who wants to
about the Smokey Mountains. Every tree and almost any plant he could
name for me when asked. Then he shared with us fascinating details of
how various plants were used through history, whether for medicine or
even flash photography. All along the trail, nature's imprints
caught his attention. I was especially impressed by his remark of
rainy weather enhances the green color of the forest's flora and
to its enjoyment. Thanks for assigning us with such an expert guide
|Thanks -- we had a great time with Sam -- she was a great guide!
|My family and I had a great walk yesterday with Ranger Jones. Carey
absolutely perfect and fun to have as a guide and instructor. His
knowledge of the plants, animals, and terrain were excellent. I would
this again. Thanks.
|Our walk with Charles this AM was wonderful. We enjoyed it SO VERY
Best to you, Lisa Robinsn 7/2011
Thanks again for shuttling Corey and me last week from the dam up to
Davenport Gap and resupplying us at Newfound Gap. I appreciate people
will do what they say : )
|Found my car today directly across from Cades Cove ranger station as
expected. It was a great hike made even more enjoyable using your
services. I will recommend to others. I hope you have a great and
safe year of hiking!
So many trails,so little time!
Dave and Nancy Kleshinski 6/2011
|Erik, I wanted to thank you again for the excellent/amazing trip, we
all enjoyed it very much and learned a lot. We plan on continuing the
sport. I independently asked both boys what they liked the most about
the trip and they both said they liked "that Erik taught us a lot of
cool stuff". You would make a very good science teacher. Feel free to
use me as a reference any time. Thanks again,
|We found this tour on TA (Trip Advisor) and booked based on what we read. It seemed
there was nothing like it out there. I have visited the mountains at
least 10 times since I was a little boy. Never have I experienced
something like this. This 2 hour tour really showed me what all I was
missing around me if I just took a few minutes to stop and truly look
at my surroundings.
I was doing this tour with my children, ages 4 and 6. On their
website I was able to find a tour designed just for kids. During our
tour we searched for salamanders, played games, learned about the
local history, explored nature, and actually sampled edible items
from nature. Vesna, our guide, was so engaging she could get down on
her knees with our kids and put things in their hands. She included
touch and taste in the explanations to get a real understanding of
what was being taught. What was a 2 hour tour only felt like 15
minutes, it was packed with so much interesting information and fun
that I really could not believe how much time had passed! She even
went out of her way and brought snacks for the kids. We all learned
so much, and the entire family agrees it was the best thing we did on
our trip. I can't wait to go back next year and take a another tour!
Orlando, FL 2/11
I wanted to take a moment and brag on Jonika she was our guide for a nature walk this past Sunday. We scheduled the walk for my 3 year old and she came away enjoying the experience...she even told me this morning that we have go back and walk with Miss Johnica again ... Johnica represents your firm well. She was engaging and did a wonderful job explaining the terrain, plaints, wildlife, etc. We definitely will utilize your service again when we visit east Tennessee.
P Tate, AL 8/10
... it was a pleasure meeting you and thanks again for your
I will highly recommend your organization to anyone traveling in the
area and in need of your services.
Tim Foree 8/10
| Thank you for a wonderful "walk" yesterday! This is our first time
to the Smoky Mountain area and yesterday's walk was our first family activity here. It gave us--including our young teenage daughters--a great appreciation for the
wonderful diversity and natural beauty of the Smoky Mountains. Dana was a very knowledgeable and extremely personable guide. We thoroughly enjoyed our 1/2 day walk.
> Thank you again!
C Chekouras 8/10
Scheduled the exploring nature with children for my
grandson Jackson. It was the highlight of the trip for him. Our guide
Megan, was wonderful and the two adults on the hike learned a lot
also. Jackson is very shy but Megan was able to keep him engaged the
entire time. Jackson loves the outdoors and I wanted to thank Megan
for being a part of his learning experience. Jackson didn't speak a
word on the hike but wouldn't stop talking about the salamanders on
the trip back to Townsend. Once again, thanks Megan, for a great
V Cox, LA 8/10
Hello Erik, Your tour was a fantastic experience. The combination of introduction
backpacking and to the Smoky's fauna, flora, geology and history is a
|Just wanted to thank you very much for the walk we took with Jonika on July 24th. My husband and I had a great time as did our four year old son. The walk was just enough for him to keep up and Jonika helped to keep him entertained. We would definitely recommend your company to others. Also on a quick note, your correspondence and directions were superior! Thanks again
L Sturm 7/10
|Hey we really enjoyed our guy who drove us over to Newfound Gap from
Big Creek. He did more than just drive us. We had an amazing trip.
Thanks for helping us with our logistics. I'll recommend ya'll to
D Ricks 7/10
My wife and I went on the Stroll Back In Time walk
yesterday and it was the highlight of our vacation. Jonika was a fantastic guide and gave us so much information on the
area's history, plants and wildlife. She really made it a memorable
experience. Our walk was probably the mildest of what you offer but we're looking
forward to doing more and your walks/hikes will be a must-do on all
our future trips to Gatlinburg.
B Pitts, KY 7/10
|We just returned home after a wonderful week in the Smokies. The
of our five day trip was the walk led by Jonica. She was very
about many plants along the trail and the history of the area.
she was an excellent teacher. We felt like we learned more from that
than from many previous trips to the Smokies combined. Later that
and evening, we reflected back upon many things she taught us. Of
forgot a lot of things and probably would benefit from taking the
again. Sometime in the near future, we hope to take another trip led
Please give her our regards and say thanks again.
Eva and Frazier 8/10
Just wanted to say what a wonderful time me and my family had hiking
on June 25th & Dana was an exceptional guide. He was so
and easy going - we just loved it. Thanks again and we look forward
to booking another hike soon!
T Chacon 6/10
Hi! Just wanted to let you know what a terrific time my wife and I
on our recent hike. It was the highlight of our trip to Gatlinburg!
Everybody talks about driving through Cades Cove (which we did and
was interesting) but for a real Smoky Mountain experience your hike
by far the better way to go! Our guide, Megan, was absolutely
Her knowledge and obvious love for the forest was inspiring. We will
definitely spread the word about your company to anyone else that we
hear of heading up that way for a vacation. Thanks again for a truly
memorable and wonderful experience!
M and R Womack 6/10
Susan and I finished the complete AT through the Smokies early
morning. We had a great time. It was weekend we will never forget.
saw plenty of wildlife including a wild boar which was easily the
largest one of it's kind. At first glance I thought it was bear! We
saw many wildflowers. The water sources were all good, running
We even took time to shop at the new GSM gift shop on top of
Dome. Susan purchased a Bird Song CD, a book mark and a frig magnet
which she carried in her pack the remaining 38 miles of the AT.
so much for fitting us in at the last minute, next time we need a
shuttle service we'll contact you!!!
Thank you Megan for the terrific walk my Family took
you this last weekend, A Stroll Back in Time! It was a definite
highlight to our vacation, giving lasting memories for my entire
Family. Your knowledge and love for the area was absolutely
and we cannot wait to visit again. My kids are adventurers at heart
and you really inspired them and opened their eyes to many things.
This was an unforgettable experience for us all!! Thanks so much for
what you do!!
Wild Family 6/10
My family and I went on the Natural Pools and Waterfalls
walk with Dana and had a blast!! The walk was such a great experience
and getting to see nature up close while Dana tought us about the
wonders of the forrest was something I wont forget and will look
forward to the next time I get to come back!! I will take another
with A Walk In The Woods and might go for one a little longer one
time! Thanks for a great time, a wonderful experience, a little
learning, and priceless memory!!!
Carley, MIS 6/10
|Just wanted to tell you how much we enjoyed our guided hikes last
Jonika was our guide for Exploring Nature with Children and
our guide for A Stroll Back in Time. They were both GREAT guides and
learned so much from them. We went on trails that we would never
on by ourselves.
Thanks again, B Cvitkovich 6/10
Erik and Andrea made this experience one that I will never
forget. Their knowledge of plant and animal life was wonderful. Their
enthusiasm rubbed off on the entire group. The tips they shared with
the group will make my future backpacking experiences easier and more
enjoyable. The stories they shared about the Cherokee ways were
impressive. I couldn't ask for two better guides than these two.
Thanks again for a wonderful trip.
I have backpacked many times
in the past but this experience has taught me so much. I have been
carrying my pack wrong all these years. This trip I could hardly feel
the pack and I didn't even get one blister thanks to our guides and
their tips. The Smokey's are beautiful and a place everyone should
experience. J. Wiles 6/10
| Our "Walk in the Woods" with Dana was beyond mere words.
We had not been to the Smoky Mountains for around 12 years. Our
greatest desire was to spend quality time in the mountains. Our
greatest wish was to see a bear. Our hike with Dana provided both
quality time, extensive knowledge and learning as well as a close
encounter with a bear. In our wildest dreams we never imagined we
would see a bear so closely. Dana´s depth of knowledge and ability to
convey relevant and interesting information was extraordinary. We
feel truly blessed to have had such a magnificent hike with a
wonderful guide. Thank you very much, Dana, for sharing so much of
the mountains history, beauty and yourself.
Vaughn KS 4/10
My name is vickey burton and my husband and I participated in two
walks with your guides. We just wanted to say that your guides Megan
Jones and Andrea were fantastic! They were so nice and caring
especially when I finally told Meghan that my feet hurt and I had a
blister. I was so surprised and impressed to hear from Andrea that
Meghan had filled her in on my feet and throughout our walk on
thursday, Andrea kept checking in with me to be sure I was alright.
It really meant a lot to me as it is not something that usually
happens. Meaghan was so knowledgeable throughout our walk to the
and made it so exciting. We learned so much about plants to eat and
also their history. My only problem is that I forget the names of the
plants I took pictures of and didn't check with her and write the
names down (LOL). On Thursday, it was so interesting to hear the
history of the mountain and to see settlements and the cemetery. Both
women found plants and insects/bugs that we would never of noticed.
They made the walk so interesting.
It is the extra special things that make us want to tell others about
your walks and when we come again, we definitely will book more hikes
with you again. ...
It is the extra special things that make us want to tell others about
your walks and when we come again, we definitely will book more hikes
with you again. Thank you so much for two wonderful and memorable hikes through the
mountains. Your staff went above and beyond their role and were
wonderful guides. they were fabulous hikes and I am so appreciated
for their care and thoughtfulness.
Kevin and Vickey Burton Ontario, Canada
Just wanted to touch base as a follow-up to the recent backpacking
trip with you and Seth on Nov 7-8. I really couldn't have imagined a
better way to ease into the sport than the time spent on the trail
The general info you shared about backpacking is truly an invaluable
base that I can build upon in future trips. I thought the survival
skills, plant identification, and stories about the history of the
smokies really elevated things to another level. It is awesome to
have had a chance to take this trip and kudos to your passion for
backpacking and the woods.
|This entire experience was pure joy, right from the start, during initial communications with Vesna and Judith. They were exceptionally friendly, courteous, and accommodating, carefully
answering every one of my many questions.
The idea behind the hike, was to obtain expert information about the great outdoors, and to do so in a way that would keep my 9-year old nephew completely interested; a challenging task that I definitely needed help with, on both accounts. That's where our trusted guide stepped-in. Hello, Joyful Jonika! She was absolutely fabulous during the entire 2-hour, Exploring Nature with Children hike. Her comprehensive knowledge, and keen ability to enthusiastically express
it in a way that captivated my nephew, exceeded my hopes and expectations. Jonika provided a tremendous amount of information, in a very pleasurable forum, that gave us both a new perspective of, and more importantly, a sincere appreciation for the wonders of nature.
After we thanked Jonika and said farewell, my nephew wanted to see some more, so we went right back into the park and had a great time. My nephew has expressed a desire to do more hiking, and that's what I was also hoping to achieve.
I'll always be thankful to Jonika, for patiently sharing her gift of knowledge, and I'm quite convinced that this wonderful experience will have a positive, everlasting impact upon my nephew. Thank you, Jonika, and A Walk in the Woods. Mission accomplished.
Don, Knoxville, TN 10/09
|Vesna and Jonika,
Thank you so much for an awesome hike on the AT on Saturday! I loved
it. You were both wonderful. I'll be talking about that hike for a
long time. I formed memories that will last a lifetime. I
loved Charlies Bunion. The views were amazing. And, seeing my first
wild bear was so special...thank you for turning the car around. I
could go on and on about that hike...I loved it.
You are so personable! My sisters and I just love you! I'm so glad
we took the hike with you on Friday. I loved seeing the contrasts
between the Cosby area and the AT. You were so kind, spending extra
time with us and answering all of our questions. You are an
Although we never met face to face, thank you for all of the
emails and phone calls. Your communication was excellent! Thank
To all four of you....I'll be back!!!
Our group so enjoyed our "Stroll Back in Time" with
Megan. She had so much knowledge to share and was such an enjoyable
guide. Her love of nature was truly contagious. We novices all
that had we done the walk by ourselves we would have been bored.
Instead, our eyes were opened to all that we don't realize staring
right in the face! Wish I was able to retain all of Megan's info!
R&M, KY 10/09
We loved our Walk in the Woods today with Carey. Megan and Charlotte
liked finding the salamanders the best. Carey was wonderful with
and involved them in every aspect of the hike. He is a wonderful
guide! We all learned a lot. We want to come back in November for
Kathy and Parke, 8/09
|What an incredible day! This has been a very special family vacation--Erik you transformed our last day into the most memorable of all vacation days ever! I hope we can come back soon and do the AT with you! Erik you kept us all so enchanted with your knowledge and anecdotes! A most heartfelt thank you from us all! Lynn, Cliff, Sam and Dylan 7/09.
|Once again I want to thank you for a wonderful hiking experience. Everyone had such a great time. The kids were so happy with it all and that is what counts!!!!! Vesna and Tara, you make each trip a memorable experience. Diana, Ohio 6/09
Erik and Dana -
Thank you again for such a wonderful Adventure. I am still talking about it and our wonderful guides - ya'll made it the greatest. ... Thank you again for a great trip - it was awesome and my favorite vacation of all the trips I have taken. Have safe Holidays"
Erik, I just wanted to thank you for your services and all the great information you gave Marty and I on the way to Maddron Bald trailhead. We had a great day in the mountains and you certainly helped to make that happen. We had scheduled one of your competitors for shuttle service on a previous trip and they didn't show up. We finally hitched a ride with someone and paid them the fee. Your great service and information will keep you at the top of my list. Thanks again for helping us have a great day.
Randy, Nashville, TN 11/08
|A belated note to thank you for your professional and courteous shuttle service on September 17th, 2008. The short trip was a mini-lecture on local flora, fauna, and wildlifee.We particularly appreciated the information on bears later when we encountered a juvenile bear (app. 150 lbs.) and could enjoy the event without apprehension. It was our first trip to the Smokies but hopefully not the last. With best wishes for continued success. Edith and Klaus 11/08
These (backpacking) guides were so fantastic. We covered wilderness survival, compass use, edible plants flora and fauna, medicinal plants, backpacking tips, lighting strikes, nutrition on the trail, equipment and all of this in four days. Give these guys a medal for all their expertise and instruction. It was much more than I could have hoped for! They are so professional and at the same time warm and patient. I have been backpacking since I was a tiny girl as my mother worked for the Sierra Club but I learned more in these four days than in all other trips combined.
Cornelia, CA 10/08
Fancy Fungi (Erik) and Blue Tooth (Andrea). Thank you so much for the (backpacking ) trip of a lifetime. This trip was a culmination of dreams that I've had for quite some time but never dreamed it would be this magnificent. Thank you for that.
Jennie, AL 9/08
Believe me, when I say that Dana went above and beyond for that hike. I am so impressed by how he communicated his love of the Smokies, the wonder and unique properties of the flora and fauna on the trail, and how crucial it is that we recognize the fragile nature of the land. He certainly heightened my awareness! I will try to use the photos I took to pass along some of this message to my children this week - - just hope I can remember the names of the plants he pointed out!!! He is, in my estimation, exemplifying good ( - actually, *great*) stewardship of the Great Smokies National Park through his work with hikers. Bravo, Dana! Best wishes to your entire outfit, and hike on!
Erik, Remember me? Just wanted you to know that I completed a thru hike on the AT this year. I summitted Mt. Katadhin on Sept. 7. It took me 5 1/2 months and was quite problem free. I had no injuries or illnesses and Tom did a great job of handling everything at home so I had few distractions.Thought about our REI (AT Backpacking Trip) trip quite a bit when I hiked through the Smokies where we had 8" of snow. The REI trip we took with you certainly helped me in knowing what I was getting into. Twice on the trail I met Charlotte who was also on the REI trip.She was section hiking.Thanks for your contribution.
Vicki aka Dust in the Wind 9/08
I have just completed 2 recent hikes with Andrea that were just amazing. The first to Charlie's Bunion with Hike for Discovery, and the second on Ramsey's Cascade. Thank you. I am already contemplating a return trip.
I just wanted to let you guys know how much my cousin and I enjoyed our
walk in the woods on July 20th. I will definitely be recommending you
guys to anyone else who is visiting your area.
Bridgett, MS 8/08
Vesna and Erik went above and beyond to help us plan a
backpacking trip through the Smoky Mountains. Having never backpacked for
an extended trip we didn't know what to expect. Vesna and Erik told us
what to bring and gave valuable advice. They dropped us off at the
trailhead and even picked us up early at the end. Vesna and Erik know
everything there is to know about backpacking and the Great Smoky
Mountains National Park. I would recommend their services to anyone
wanted to see the beauty of the Smoky Mountains.
Graham and CK, Berkeley, CA 7/08
| Erik, I just wanted to drop you a note thanking you again for the
wonderful hike you took us on this past Friday. It was the highlight of
our trip. ...
Thanks again! I'll be sure to recommend you to others visiting the
Bernie Hoefer, IN 01/08
Erik, thanks again for the great taste of the AT. Tom and I are still amazed at your knowledge and love of the Great Smoky Mountains! The enjoyment of everyone is certainly evident on their faces in this photo...
Don't be surprised if you hear from me next spring for a shuttle.
|... You both were so nice and squeezed us in for a walk
on Wednesday, September 5th. We went on a "Stroll Back in Time". While
this was not our planned wall, we still had an excellent time. Vesna was
very informative and impressed us with her knowledge. This was definitely
a highlight of our trip. Thank you for a terrific walk!
Veronica and Tony, Waterford, CT 09/07
We recently went on the Stroll Back in Time walk with Vesna
and she was EXCELLENT! We have two young children (5 and 2) and she
interacted well/tolerated my 5 year old and his constant stories and
questions; she has the patience of a saint! The walk was enjoyable and
educational for everyone! Thank you!
Stacey, City: St. Louis, 6/07
I entered back into my crazy world today and all I could think about was
the peace I left behind. I can not tell you how much I enjoyed my
adventure in Tennessee! What a great group of women I met, you
included. I would like to plan a trip with my son next summer. So I am
sure you will be hearing from me again soon. I have told everyone what
a wonderful guide you are and I hope you get some calls from them. They
all figure if Ellen could do it, anyone can!! Take care of yourself and
your wonderful family.
Ellen, FL 6/07
|Dear Vesna and Erik,
Thank you for your help providing our shuttle service for our recent
hike. thanks to your dependable service we were able to begin our hike
on time at the Alum Cave trail head Wed am and when we arrived at the
Maddron Bald trail head Sat. at 12:30 our cars were ready and waiting for
We had a spectacular hike and just wanted to tell you we appreciate your
Erik, we enjoyed hearing the info you shared with us on the ride to
Alum trail head. We saw the plane wreckage and had a brief memorial as
the instructor who died in the crash was also the instructor/ friend of
one of the guys in our group. We also saw the old home site and cemetery
on the old settlers trail, very cool. we would not have known if you had
not told us about it. We also saw the old trail going to the old shelter
at false gap, spring was not running, only moist ground. The two springs
on the backside of Guyot were running strong. Thanks again !
| Hello Vesna,
Here it is coming up on the second week since I was there
and in some ways it seems like yesterday.
Just wanted to thank you for a most enjoyable time.
It was nice to hear a little more of the surrounding history of the
mountain area. Whoever thought you could have such a good time
chewing on wood and eating leaves. LOL I enjoyed the talks along the way.
It's nice to know someone who really knows their stuff. A couple of questions...
I will be coming back ...
Probably will not have time for another class this time
because I will be walking around the mountain on my own
watching and looking at plants as I go.
The 5 1/2 hour class will be something to look forward too.
Thanks again for such a great time.
"...thanks very much for the guided walk in the Greenbriar
section of the part on Easter Sunday. My wife, Lizzie, and children,
Madison and Evan, and I all enjoyed it thoroughly. Vesna made the walk
both fun and informative. It was worth every penny!
Greg F, Midlothian, VA 04/07
|"Thank you for an awesome AT Backpacking Trip!! I would rate this
experience as one of the top 3 in my life. I will never forget the
experience and the extra special professional care you provided me and our
group. You are a great teacher/leader. I hope I can remember all the
incredible information about the Smoky Mountains and the trail.
And remember....everything will be "just where you left it"!"
Greg Y. Charlott, NC (Trailname "Just where you left it") 10/06
"We used the shuttle service on Oct.4,2006. Gary and I were
very impressed with the knowledge of Erik. We enjoyed the information
regrarding the twenty five year study about the wildlife in the Smokey
Mountians.The Mt. LeConte trip was wonderful, This was a Great Vacation.
Thanks so much for helping to make our trip,(A Life long memory).
Georgia, Beaver Dam, KY 10/06
|Our Walk in the Woods with Erik was definitely the best thing
we did on our vacation in the Smokies!! There were six of us including a
chatty 7 year old and an "oh this will be so boring" 12 year old and my 71
year old mom. Eric did the miracle job of making the hike the highlight
of our vacation for everyone!!! My youngest son is still searching for
sourwood leaves!! Erik you're the best, next time we plan on booking a
longer, more difficult hike. We can't recommend this service strongly
D Myers, Chicago IL 7/06.
Erik and Vesna,
I just wanted to send a quick note to thank you for an amazing trip! Your guide service meant that I was able to function once again - as a husband, father, employee & friend. Being with nature helped me get back to a peaceful place in my heart and soul. You allowed us to do it safely, while learning about nature, backpacking, the Smokies, and life!
Marine Veteran JP, WI 7/06
We were one of the tours you did last Tuesday, June 6th, @ 10:00 AM
Eastern. We were a party of 13 & met you in the first parking lot in the
Greenbrier section of the Park.
First of all..."THANK YOU!!!!!!!" It was the BEST thing we did on our trip
- even the kids thought so. We have recommended your website to many
friends planning trips to Tennessee. The second reason for the email- I
cannot remember all the names of everything you told us. Is there any way
you can send me the names of the plant/trees you pointed out, so we can
include this in our scrapbooks. For instance, we remember the Sour Root
for the honey, but what else was it used for? What were the 2 twigs we
ate? One was for keeping their teeth clean & fresh breath. Anything else
you can think of we be great. We have great pictures & you helped us
create MANY great memories. Thanks again for making our trip SO WONDERFUL!
Dawn, Kevin, Catherine & Amanda S. 06/06
|"Vesna, Just wanted you to know that my Children are still talking about their walk experience and Jasmine is quoting you like she is the expert. We were working in the yard this weekend and ran across some hairy vines. Thank you so much for taking the time to answer their questions. I can't express how wonderful it was to meet you and to spend time with you.", K Brunni, AL 04/06
"Your enthusiasm, sense of humor & gift of teaching made this
trip pleasant fun & relaxing. It was wonderful being enveloped in
the smells & sounds of the Smokies.But most of all thanks for enhancing
my life by giving me confidence & a sense of success."
L. D. Knoxville, TN
"What a lovely time we had. Our guide was Erik and he was great.
This is a must do for the whole family old and young will enjoy this wonderful
treat. We went this Oct. 2005 and the weather was perfect.It is something
you will want to do again and again."
Downs family, AL 10/05
"Just a quick note to say thank you for a WONDERFUL day on the 15th.
The "grands" have not stopped talking about the fun time we
had and they tell all about their new learned facts!! I have a friend
that almost drove up for some jewel plant for her son's poison ivy. Thank
you for a great day. May the Lord continue to expand your business as
you tell of His awesome creation!!"
Cindy & Steve, TN 07/05
"Dear Vesna & Erik
On behalf of the Hope College Upward Bound students and staff I would
like to thank you for providing us with a wonderful learning experience
while we were in Tennessee. The guided walk was definitely one of the
highlights of our trip, and two weeks later, students are still talking
about it. It was both educational and fun, and it developed a greater
awareness of how important it is to protect and respect our natural environment.
Thank you again for everything!"
E.C. Director Hope College Upward Bound, MI. 06/05
"Thanks again for such a great trip experience. Having used your
shuttling services for a few years and all the talks we have had in the
shuttles I always wondered what it was like to go on a backpacking trip
with AWITW. I had high expectations and you exceeded them all."
"This recent experience though makes me want to use AWITW again
and again more for the fantastic learning experience 5 days with Erik
turned out to be. My biggest worry is that it will become impossible to
book AWITW for backpacking trips in the park requiring permits as AWITW
will become so popular that you will be booked solid for nearly 6 months
advance. Part of me wants to write an article for backpacker to get you
some press and another part of me says, don't wreck a good thing by publicizing
it too much." Chris R. IL 5/27/05
|Linda and I really enjoyed our backpacking trip with you.
We were amazed at how much you can learn in just a couple of days. I thought
for sure it would take weeks to learn how to use a compass. However, with
your clear instructions we both picked it up before the trip ended. After
our trip we even taught our mom how to use a compass and build a one match
fire! On our way back to Florida we started writing notes about what we
had learned and ended up with five pages! We can't wait to go backpacking
Thank you for all your teaching and patience, we really had a wonderful
time and learned a lot. We're recommending everyone interested in backpacking
to come to 'A Walk In the Woods'. Terri, FL 5/13/05
|"Thanks Vesna, for the walk back in time! I learned a
lot about the plants, animals and way of life long ago. Your knowledge of
the local area is admirable! Thanks for all the information on local plants
and trees and how they were utilized. The entire experience was nothing
short of amazing. Thanks for the tea, but most of all, thanks for everything
! " Eric, Mary Fl 11/10/04
|Dear Erik, I just wanted to tell you again how much my wife and
I enjoyed our walk, a Stroll Back in Time. I was quite impressed with your
knowledge of the fauna and flora and actually enjoyed tasting the different
plants and learning about Greenbrier. I sure admire those folk for their
fortitude. Its amazing how much we are missing from nature. Please, if
you don't mind, give me your recipe for the, don't remember what plant,
tea you make. I will appreciate it. We told our children about it all and
they too were impressed. Surprised too. .... We will be back, maybe next
summer and will most definitely schedule something with you. Thank you again
and all the best to you and your family. C. Patterson 5/26/04.
|My husband and I went to Gatlinburg on our honeymoon in September, 2001
and to this day, I want to go back just to do another hike in the park with
Erik and Vesna! They are both so knowledgable and made our trip so memorable.
When we go back for our anniversary, we will definitely be contacting them
again! Jennifer and Shane R. Clinton
Township, MI 3/19/2004
| "Our nature hike with Vesna & Erik was the highlight of ourtrip!
We can't wait to come back with our children." Scott and Pam, Cincinnati,
|"Erik took me and my 7 other family members (ranging in age from
1 - 65) on a lovely nature walk. It was in a part of the park we never even
knew existed, though we had been going the the smokies for the better part
of the last 2-3 decades for family vacations. Erik was wonderful....very
patient with us and not only did he teach, he did so in a fun and entertaining
way!!! We really enjoyed our time with him in the beautiful park and have
even more of an appreciation of the area than we thought possible. Keep
up the good work!!" Kim B Birmingham, AL 7/2003
|"Our family really enjoyed our visit to Gatlinburg and the fantastic
hike that we took with you and your daughter. My daughters still talk about
how much more they remember from their walk than any lecture they might
get in a science class. We have been on many hikes before, self-guided,
thru organizations such as Girl Scouts, thru various park service
organizations, and none sparked the interest and enthusiasm of our family
like this hike did. We hope to visit again and hike other trails with you.
Thank you so much for such a fun, informative day!" The Robbins Family
|"When you are in the Pigeon Forge and Gatlinburg Area be sure to
take a hike into the Great Smokey Mountains National Park. I hiked with
Erik Plakanis, who with his wife Vesna owns "A Walk In The Woods."
He is undoubtedly the best guide I have ever had for a nature experience!
He is practically walking botany book!
"Erik is a former big city business executive who made the brave choice
to leave the mad rush and follow his passion. He has gotten to take a "Walk
In the Woods" nearly every day for the past five years. He is so enthusiastic
about each minute find of a leaf, a bug, or a tree, flower, or rock, his
fellow hikers cannot help but get excited too." Bonnie Neely, Real
Travel Adventures International Magazine. Go
| "I was concerned about the cost of a guided hike, but risked it
anyway. I'm glad I did. We all enjoyed "A Stroll Back in Time"
- Eric's presentations were fun and educational. Because we took this first,
on all our informal walks the next couple of days we recognized the things
Eric had shown us. I am recommending "A Walk In The Woods" to
all my friends
and family. Try them, you'll be glad you did." Steve, Mt Prospect,
|" We just want to thank you for the rides you two have given usto
the trail heads over the past three years. Plus you take care of ourtruck
and you were always there to pick us up at the end of the trail. We are
ready to book another trip for 2003. We will be calling you! It'snice to
know you are there each year, we will keep making the trip down
each year as long as you are there to help. Thanks again! Randy and Joe"
Dayton, OH 11/2002
Comments on a backpacking trip, "Flawless, turnkey service, and
a trip my family will never forget. Wonderful running commentary on mountain
flora. The magnificence of the Albright old growth forest. The equipment
we rented was all first rate, in excellent shape. Many thanks to Erik
and Vesna for a marvelous time." Randy and Betsy from Winston-Salem,
| "A friend and I used the shuttle service last year and found the
experience to be above and beyond our expectations. We arrived at the tralhead
an hour early and to our surprise, Erik was already there! He provided invaluable
tips while we were making last minute pack adjustments that helped shed
severals pounds from our packs. Erik is extremely enthusiastic and very
knowledgeable about the Smokies and thus the trip to our destination trailhead
was very entertaining and educational. Thanks for the great experience and
keep up the great work!" Chris from Kalamazoo, MI 3/17/2002
| "Thanks for two incredible hiking trips up Mt. Le Conte. Your guidance
and knowledge of the Smokies is a must for anyone who wants to hike Mt.
Le Conte for the first time or is an avid hiker looking for an incredible
journey. I look forward to our next trip. Thanks" Dave from Crete,
What a wonderful hike. My whole family, from grandpa and grandma all the
way down to Jenni LOVED the hike...You guys do a great job and went above
and beyond for us!...When I asked the kids what their favorite part of our
trip was they said the hike in the Smoky Mountains. Bob said it was his
favorite too! Mine also! ... Still think you ought to put a spot on your
web page for customer comments! I just can't say enough good things."
seeing an old growth forest on A Walk in the Woods trip, I understand why
people hug trees!" JM, Tucker, GA
a beautiful backpacking trip with Erik and Vesna, I dream about the woods
now." Duet Chow, Hong Kong
wanted to thank you again for a great trip. You made the backpacking more
enjoyable and educational than I thought possible. I want to return to
eat some fresh mushrooms and to climb Mt. Guyot+Leconte...Backpacking
has become a real interest of mine. "
Andrew Goodwin, New York, NY
thanks for your assistance with out "AT" trip...You impressed
me because you went "above and beyond" my expectations in your
personal touch and tending to our ever-changing group needs!" J Pasch
helped create a lifetime memory for all of us...The increased awareness
you bring about is multiplied a hundred fold!" D Speigle
really enjoyed our ride up the mountain with you and we all want to thank
you again. You are the hit of our backpacking weekend with all of our friends.
You will hear from us again." B Lapina
just wanted to thank you so much for the wonderful time that Jay and I had
with you and Natalie in the park. The walk with you was most definitely
the highlight of our trip!!" Trudy
thanks for the lift and the helpful tips that you gave us. They made the
hike much more enjoyable. Looking forward to seeing you again..." Marvin
writing to thank you both for giving our family one of the most memorable
and educational experiences we've shared in the Smokies or anywhere...In
fact, it would be fair to say that "A Walk in the Woods" is one of the main
reasons we've decided to return to Gatlinburg this year for our family vacation."
R Balsitis, IL
did want to express to you once again that I greatly enjoyed the hike &
of course that day was far & away the best of the days we had in Tennessee..."
also want you to know what an inspiration you guys are to me and my family...
Your introduction of nature to us this past summer has really changed us.
I can count on one hand the number of people who have had such a profound
impact on our lives. Thanks for everything." D Jonas, Miami