I always loved hiking and playing in the woods as a kid. Family vacations were always camping trips that, to me, were more exciting than any beach or amusement park.
After high school, I joined the U.S. Army as an infantryman thinking it was a job that included hiking and camping with pay. My last assignment was at Fort Bragg, North Carolina and my family and I made numerous trips to the Smokies from there. It quickly became our favorite place to visit.
Of course our favorite thing to do was to hike on the many trails the national park has to offer. One thing we noticed were so many people on the trail without water or other basic provisions for hiking. However, if someone wanted to buy even basic essentials for the outdoors, there wasn’t really anywhere to buy them in the mountain town of Gatlinburg unless you bought expensive gear at an outfitter.
I retired from the Army after twenty years of service. We decided the next step should be to fill the need for basic hiking gear for those visiting the Smokies without busting the family vacation budget. In May 20, 2000, we filled that need by specializing in reasonably priced gear and opening a small shop in Gatlinburg, Tennessee called “The Day Hiker.”
We knew that a couple of miles on the trail could end up being a negative experience without a few basic items, but by just bringing water or a rain poncho, it could become an exhilarating family experience that you want to do over and over again.
Our motto has always been “Don’t hit the trails unprepared”. Be sure to stop by The Day Hiker on your next trip to Gatlinburg and outfit your family to include the best collection of hiker themed t-shirts in town.
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