Hiking in the smokies: Reviews
We took the Charles Bunion hike with our guide Jake. This company was AWESOME from beginning to end. The hurricane was scheduled to arrive on our scheduled day (at least rain from the hurricane) and we got a call two days before and they offered to change our day to Sunday the day before so we could have good weather. They moved our tour from Monday to Sunday and we were so grateful for the phone call from them! The weather Sunday was BEAUTIFUL! Jake was an AWESOME guide!! He made our hike SUPER enjoyable! He had lots of information that he offered us the entire hike! We learned so much! He had great stories that he shared that really made the hike so enjoyable! It was a very strenuous hike for me. (I am not a hiker and have bad knees) I don't hike and I really was not prepared for the entire hike being uphill most of the way. Jake was SUPER KIND AND UNDERSTANDING not rushing me, he always seemed to know when I needed a short break and he would stop for a moment to talk about the trees in the area, or give us other information so I could have a small break! I am a slow hiker and he never made me feel that I was holding him back and I REALLY appreciated his kindness. He was always concerned to how I was feeling! I was not able to make it all the way to the point at Charles Bunion so he took us on a shorter route that cut off a few miles for me and we went up to Jump Off Point and the views were nothing short of AMAZING!! They had a really yummy lunch ready for us that we ate right int he middle of the mountain in a super quiet area on a fallen tree. IT WAS AMAZING to be able to have our lunch there and just enjoy the mountain! He really made our hike personal to us, and he has so much knowledge about the entire area and has been a guide in many different places! He was GREAT and this hike was the HIGHLIGHT of our trip and something my husband and I will NEVER FORGET! Thank you Jake for all of the instruction, information about the mountain, and wonderful memories!
I went on the October 17, 2017 Trip. I have never backpacked before and the only backcountry knowledge I had was from watching YouTube videos. Our guide was Jake and he was awesome! Full of info about the Smoky Mountains, the AT and of course backpacking. Day two of our trip was physically demanding however Jake kept us moving and entertained with stories about Mountain People, Sasquatch and Cone Lickers. ( You will have to ask him what Cone Lickers are) I would recommend this trip to anyone and everyone! Don't forget to tip your guide, they work their butts off for us.
Our tour guide Jake was awesome! Extremely experienced, having hiked in various internal countries and locations within the US. He shared interesting nuggets of information as we hiked along the trail. We didn't know what to expect, given my husband and I aren't experienced hikers. Jake made sure the pace wasn't too hectic and he even took care of my big toe when I started to develop a blister half way thru the guided hike. We hiked to a breath taking vista and ate a relaxing lunch. I highly recommend this tour company and most definitely Jake as your guide! When we return will look to reconnect with Jake and do even more hiking.
Our 4 day Havasu falls excursion was amazing! Our guide Jake Wittman met with us the day before and thoroughly explained what we can expect and answered all our questions. He took care of everything from providing us with salty snacks and reminding us to eat them to going off the trail to show us a hidden cave with some ancient carvings, to setting up our campsite and cooking delicious, inventive meals to literally standing below me on the climb down the side of the canyon on the way down to the falls to tell me step by step where I should place my feet so I could arrive safely. He showed us secret caverns under the falls and was always ready with a great story. He really made our trip special and I would highly recommend him!
My Havasu Falls tour in August of 2015 was my first guided hiking tour, so I really didn't know quite what to expect. I had been to the Grand Canyon, and had camped in many of the national parks...and I had wanted to travel all the way into the Canyon for many, many years, and specifically to see the fantastic Havasu Falls. I was not disappointed--even though the hike in was challenging because of rain, and our views of the turquoise water/travertine of the falls were impacted by the muddy water that came with the flooding caused by the rain, once the weather cleared we had 2 days of fantastic, sunny weather and blue skies. Havasu is a beautiful desert oasis--the amazing beauty and power of the water is life-giving and life-changing. It is a true paradise; easy to see why the area is so important to the Havasupai people. The trip was well-planned, our guide, Jake, was very professional, a great cook, and skillfull at managing the dynamics of a diverse group so that everyone was satisfied. Jake is truly an "old soul." Not only was he professional in carrying out the responsibilities of leading a group tour, he was fun, interesting, and enthusiastic, and just seemed to have a knack for reading people and what would make them happy--what experiences they might find meaningful or fun on the tour, and he tried to make that possible for each one of us, which I really appreciated. As a teacher, he was also superb. I am rather afraid of heights, and I knew that the Mooney Falls descent might be challenging for me. I talked to him about this before the hike, and he was so calm, confident, and encouraging, and specific about telling me how and where to place each foot as we made the descent, that I wasn't even afraid, which was nothing short of incredible to me! He was just as supportive on the challenging hike out of the canyon--the things I was able to accomplish on this trip, which I took to celebrate turning 60, were empowering and life-changing for me. I know that I owe that in part to him, and I will always be grateful.