• Jenny Lynn Keller

Going the Distance


For an enjoyable hike in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, walk the trail to the Walker sisters’ cabin. Only a few folks were allowed to continue living on their property once it became part of the park, and five of the seven Walker sisters were among that small group in 1934. Until the last survivor Louisa passed away in 1964, the sisters lived and farmed as they had since the late 1800s. No running water or indoor plumbing. Drinking water drawn from a flowing spring protected by a log springhouse used to keep milk, butter, and cheese cool during the warm months. Now that’s perseverance. But the Walker sisters considered it a joy to remain on their farm. Do we have the same toughness and grit today? James 1:2-4 says, “Consider it a sheer gift, friends, when test and challenges come at you from all sides. You know that under pressure, your faith-life is forced into the open and shows its true colors. So don’t try to get out of anything prematurely. Let it do its work so you become mature and well-developed, not deficient in any way.”


The Walker cabin trailhead begins near the small gravel parking lot beside the Little Greenbrier schoolhouse located behind the Metcalf Bottoms picnic area. Park signs claim the trail distance is 1.1 miles, but it’s closer to 2 miles of moderate climb through the woods and across the stream. The cabin, barn, and springhouse remain, surrounded by decades-old boxwoods planted to break the winter northern winds. Take a picnic lunch, plenty of water, and enjoy the walk.


If you’ve visited the Smokies, what’s your favorite area or activity?

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