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|Article by Tyler Currie in The Washington Post, May 28th 2003 edition after he did a backpacking trip with us. Go to Article.|
Just wanted to thank Erik and Sam for helping me with rides to and from otSprings. 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.
Beth H. 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!
My family did the "Exploring Nature with Children" last Thursday morning at
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
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
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
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
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
Jaimie, 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!!
Thanks, Derek 04/2012
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
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 Woods."
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!
Sincerely, 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.
Best, Tom 11/2011
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 learn 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 how rainy weather enhances the green color of the forest's flora and adds to its enjoyment. Thanks for assigning us with such an expert guide
Best, David 9/2011
|Thanks -- we had a great time with Sam -- she was a great guide!
Cheers, Erica 9/2011
|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 : )
Thanks, Carey 7/2011
|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
C M 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
|Vesna, ... it was a pleasure meeting you and thanks again for your work. I will highly recommend your organization to anyone traveling in the area and in need of your services. Best regards, 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 time!
V Cox, LA 8/10
|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 of 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 walk than from many previous trips to the Smokies combined. Later that afternoon and evening, we reflected back upon many things she taught us. Of
course we forgot a lot of things and probably would benefit from taking the walk again. Sometime in the near future, we hope to take another trip led by her. 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 knowledgeable and easy going - we just loved it. Thanks again and we look forward to booking another hike soon!
Hi! Just wanted to let you know what a terrific time my wife and I had on our recent hike. It was the highlight of our trip to Gatlinburg! Everybody talks about driving through Cades Cove (which we did and it was interesting) but for a real Smoky Mountain experience your hike was by far the better way to go! Our guide, Megan, was absolutely
fantastic! 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
strong. We even took time to shop at the new GSM gift shop on top of Clingmans 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. Thanks
so much for fitting us in at the last minute, next time we need a shuttle service we'll contact you!!!
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
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.
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. 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
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 with you.
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
|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 especially 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.
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 agreed 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 us 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 them 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 a salamander hunt.
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.
Hi Erik! 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...
|... 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
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 our return!
We had a spectacular hike and just wanted to tell you we appreciate your dependable help.
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
| 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
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
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 enough!!
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
|"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."
"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
|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 7/2003
|"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 to Article
| "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, IL 1/2003.
|" 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, NC 7/2/2002.
| "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, IL 3/14/2002|
|"WOW! 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." K Jarman|
|"After seeing an old growth forest on A Walk in the Woods trip, I understand why people hug trees!" JM, Tucker, GA|
"After a beautiful backpacking trip with Erik and Vesna, I dream about the woods now." Duet Chow, Hong Kong
"Just 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
|"Many 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|
|"You helped create a lifetime memory for all of us...The increased awareness you bring about is multiplied a hundred fold!" D Speigle|
|"We 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|
|"I 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|
|"Again, 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 and Lucy|
|"I'm 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|
|"I 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..." Jay, Manhattan|
|"I 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|
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